It's so exciting to think that one fifth of the way through the 21st century and here in the UK, we are still making new food discoveries. I was first introduced to chimichurri sauce by a friend of mine a few years ago. Beaming with excitement, he proclaimed, 'you're gonna love this', as he slathered the thick, herby sauce over a freshly cooked steak. Of course, like most new food discoveries, there is nothing new about chimichurri sauce. It's been an Argentinian staple for generations.
Chimichurri is best described as a South American pesto. It's a blend of parsley, coriander, oregano, garlic, chilli and red wine vinegar. It's deep herby flavour has a kick of chilli and a tang from the red wine vinegar. It's best known as a sauce to go with grilled meats, but it's also amazing added to potato salads, with garlic bread, mixed with mayo as a dip, used as a salsa for tacos, as a seasoning for meatballs, with grilled prawns, the list is almost endless.
To showcase chimichurri I was thinking about writing a steak sandwich recipe, which this kind of is. I was also pondering the classic 'Argentinian Choripan' recipe - a grilled chorizo sausage inside a hot dog bun with chimichurri sauce and sweet roasted peppers. However, I couldn't resist the thought of seared beef steaks resting on one of our amazing Pinsa Romana - all those lovely cooking juices soaking into the delicious sourdough flat bread. Testing this out, it didn't disappoint - the addition of the fresh tomato and red onion salad was an ideal foil and we served a warm salad of roasted butternut, pecan, feta and spinach with a maple dressing as a side (check out my recipe). This would work just as well on the barbecue in the summer. And if you don't have the flatbreads - a really lovely ciabatta or sourdough would work well too.
1 or 2 Steaks, depending on how hungry you are (rib-eye, rump, sirloin - your choice)
1 x Pinsa Romana
125g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 x Red Onion, finely sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
100ml Chimichurri Sauce
1. Remove your steaks (an hour before you cook is great) from the fridge and season with salt and pepper.
2. Defrost the pinsa romana.
3. Pre-heat your oven to 250°C (or as hot as it will go!)
4. Combine the sliced tomatoes and red onion in a bowl and season with salt. Drizzle over 3 or 4tbsps of extra virgin olive oil and leave on the side. After 10 minutes you will end up with something that looks like a tomato and onion flavoured oil.
5. Heat up your pan until it's smoking hot - or get the BBQ fully fired up.
6. Sear the steaks in the hot pan until cooked to your preference.
7. Drizzle olive oil all over the pinsa romana and massage it evenly across the bread, sprinkle with sea salt.
8. Place the pinsa romana in the hot oven and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden.
9. Once the steaks are cooked, remove from the pan and leave to rest for 3-4 minutes
10. Remove the pinsa from the oven, cut into wedges and arrange on your serving plates. Scatter the tomato and onion salad, with all the oil and juices across the bread.
11. Carve the steaks into strips, pour all the resting juices over the bread and tomatoes and lay the meat across.
12. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce, a little more extra virgin olive oil and eat with a salad on the side.
Foodies, don't forget to tag us @somerset.foodie (instagram) or @SomersetFoodie (facebook) if you make this at home.
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes...
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