20 August, 2014
Chimichurri and “California Steak”
The first time I made Chimichurri, a gracious and admired friend of ours left our home asking me how to recreate the sauce I had served over dinner, complimenting its flavor and comparing it to others he had tasted. I had been inspired to make it by a large quantity of flat-leaf parsley the morning before his arrival and I wound up creating a chimichurri to accompany our flank steak that evening. I most often cook by feel, which means that I trust my intuition and experience in what ingredients work together. I am not sure I measured out the ingredients along with my reply to him; however, I have done so since in preparation for last week’s dinner guest and may even enclose a copy in my next invitation to him.
Before I called California home – back where I was born and raised, in Florida – there was a cut of steak I frequently noticed in Publix called “California Steak”. This cut wasn’t always available; however, because there are only two of these on each animal. I am not sure if I ever bought it or not in Florida as I normally opted for boneless sirloin steaks or filet mignon before I discovered this also lean and tender tip (of sirloin), often found in California.
Upon moving to California and while grilling with friends, I found that the 2-2.5# triangular-shaped muscle – known here as Tri-Tip – to be the same cut as the one I saw in Florida. It is, from what I have seen, the most popular meat to grill in backyards here. Forbes named it a “trendy cut of beef” in an article last year and according to another article in the New York Times, calling it by an other name aside from Tri-Tip is common; however, “often incorrect”.
As for our friend, I am not sure whether he recreated it, but I do think it is time to invite him again. Perhaps this time I will send it by mail with a handwritten card, as this seems to be a rare art form; however, not to him. After every time he has joined, we have had the pleasure of receiving a beautifully handwritten note days later. As for our other guest, she licked her plate clean – and then mine as well!
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed
3 sprigs oregano, stems removed
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
juice of half a lime or lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
a pinch of red pepper flakes
In a food processor, pulse the parsley, oregano, vinegar, and lemon or lime juice. Continue to pulse until it resembles a chopped mixture and then add the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few more times. Remove from the processor, emptying contents into an appropriately-sized jar or bowl. Add a dash of red pepper flakes, stir, and cover. Place in the refrigerator and allow the to flavors to blend for at least six hours prior to serving.
“California Steak” (Tri-Tip) Marinade
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. tamari
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tbs. worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. heaven & hell mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Place marinade and steak into a ziplock bag for at least 6 hours prior to grilling meat. Serve sliced, medium rare to medium, and accompanied with Chimichurri.