Nicaraguan Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Recipe
Nicaraguan Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri

By Jill Wendholt Silva

New cookbooks offer hot ingredients, cool techniques

After an unseasonably cool spring, the summer grilling season is shaping up to be another scorcher.

It's not surprising that Good Housekeeping and Weber continue to offer solid advice and dependable recipes to satisfy America's ever-expanding appetite for quick and healthy meals.

But these days the hottest ethnic ingredients, such as chimichurri and wasabi, are expanding our palates, while sizzling techniques ranging from indoor pan-searing to stovetop smoking to outdoor Latin-style grilling to Japanese yakitori, provide just the ticket for adventurous cooks in search of the next sweltering heat wave.

Latin Grilling: Recipes to Share, from Patagonian Asado to Yucatecan Barbecue and More by Lourdes Castro

I learned a long time ago that a Weber grill is good for more than flipping burgers. But I'm mindful that not everyone has a Latin lover (24 years and counting) to show them how to re-create Brazilian rodizio in their own backyard.

Heck, it took even us the first decade of our marriage and multiple conversations with a slew of butchers to figure out that the equivalent of the top sirloin known as picanha is known in the States as tri-tip steak.

Without a doubt, Latin grilling is a specialty unto itself. Like a Latin lover, the flames can be unpredictable -- and always red hot. The ingredients are different, too -- spicy chorizo, crunchy jicama, unctuous guava, sugar cane skewers used to thread shrimp onto.

Lourdes Castro is a personal chef and nutritionist based in Miami. Her Cuban roots are evident in the mouthwatering "Cuban Cookout" section of her softcover book, including a grilled Cuban sandwich with pressed layers of boiled ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese and dill pickle that I wanted to gnaw off the page.

But that doesn't mean she gives short shrift to any of her grilling neighbors, including a menu for a Nicaraguan ranch roast and a Chilean seafood cookout, among others.

Each menu includes a cocktail (pisco sour, mojito and caipiroska ), an entree (skirt steak with chimichurri, coffee-rubbed cowboy rib-eyes, brown-sugar-crusted grilled chicken), salads (char-grilled vegetables, mushroom ceviche) and a dessert (tres leches, Peruvian caramel meringue, butter rum cake with lime icing).

Nicaraguan Grilled Skirt Steak With Chimichurri Recipe

Makes 8 servings

Chimichurri:

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

3 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of extra fat

Place the crushed garlic on your cutting board and sprinkle salt over it. Wait a minute or so: you will notice some moisture leaching from the garlic. Holding your knife blade almost parallel to the cutting board, scrape the blade over the chopped garlic a few times, turning the garlic into a semi-soft paste. Place the garlic paste in a small mixing bowl.

Add the parsley, oregano, vinegar, oil and crushed red pepper in the bowl with the garlic paste and stir well to combine.

Serve or store: To store for later use, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Chimichurri can bekept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Marinate the steak: If desired, cut the large skirt steak into smaller steaks. Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag or deep bowl and pour 2 cups of the chimichurri over it, making sure to coat all the surfaces of the meat. If using a plastic bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. If using a bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the meat and marinade, creating an airtight cover. Allow the meat to marinate for at least an hour.

Grill the steak: Preheat the grill to its highest temperature, close the lid and wait 15 minutes. Oil the grill grates with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel held with a long pair of tongs.

Remove the steaks from the marinade, letting the excess marinade drip off, and place on the grill. Lower the heat to medium-high, close the lid, and cook for 4 minutes. If you tend to get flare-ups on your grill, you may want to leave the lid open; this will result in a longer cooking time. Turn the steaks over and cook for another 4 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees for medium-rare or until it reaches the desired doneness.

To serve: Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chimchurri in a small bowl and serve with the grilled skirt steak.

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Recipes: "Nicaraguan Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri"

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