Thursday, May 22, 2014

Week 18: Tri-Tip with Chimichurri

This week for Sunday dinner I rummaged through all the recipes I had torn out of magazines to find something a bit different. The family doesn’t mind being guinea pigs and this week they were more than happy after trying this unusually cooked but flavorful offering.

The recipe, originally published in the June 2013 issue of Sunset magazine, called for either bison or beef tri-tip cooked on a barbeque with a cast-iron pan. While bison is a nice lean meat, it isn’t widely available (although Butcher Son could obtain some if I had so desired), so I tested it with the more standard beef.

The method used to cook the meat is Argentine in origin and is called a la plancha—requiring a cast iron grill pan, skillet or griddle and cooked in a barbeque.  According to the recipe, this method creates an even quick sear that leaves a crusty exterior while staying moist and juicy on the inside.

I found this to be an easy to prepare dish, suitable for weeknight dinners but fancy enough to serve to guests. What puts the dish over the top is the huge amount of flavor garnered from the rosemary-parsley chimichurri sauce. In fact I wanted to ladle to sauce onto the roasted fingerling potatoes as well. Or maybe just drink it with a straw, it was that good, and the family wholeheartedly agreed. A winner recipe that is sure to make its way into our rotation this summer. And there is no reason that I shouldn’t keep a jar of the chimichurri sauce in my refrigerator, as it will be great on most any kind of meat, as well as roasted potatoes and maybe even some select vegetables.

While the recipe called for an overnight marinade, it isn’t strictly necessary. If you remember to do it the night before great; if you have time in the morning before work, that works, too. I only had 4 hours of marinating, but in actuality an hour or two will do the trick, primarily because the sauce is so excellent that any flavor is overwhelmed by it. And if you have no time to marinate….no problem. 

Recipe on next page

Tri-Tip with Chimichurri
1 bison or beef tri-tip, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick and about 2 lbs., trimmed of fat
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup packed parsley springs
7 garlic cloves
1/3 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2/3 cup olive oil

Combine tri-tip with oil and seasonings in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Chill up to 24 hours.

Prepare your chimichurri sauce: In a food processor, pulse vinegar, parsley sprigs, garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon juice, red chile flakes and sea salt to coarsely chop. While pulsing, pour in the olive oil. Pour into a jar or plastic container and cover. Let sauce rest at least 1 hour; or chill up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Prior to grilling, take meat out of refrigerator for an hour. Then set a cast-iron griddle, grill, or skillet on your barbeque grill and heat to high (450-550°). Once hot, lay tri-tip on the hot griddle. Cover grill and cook, turning once or twice, until meat is deep brown and an instant-read thermometer reaches 130° (medium-rare; don't overcook), 15 to 20 minutes total. (More for a larger tri-tip.)

Remove tri-tip to cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve with the chimichurri.

Yield: 6 servings

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