Chipotle Chimichurri Steak and Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

15 Aug

Mmmm....steak

Hello friends! Sorry about the delay between entries, I’ve been traveling and not really had access to the internet. So I was on the move from Phoenix back to Texas, where I’ll be for a couple weeks before I head back to NYC. This past week I got a chance to make dinner with some friends in Houston that are on the paleo-diet, and so I went a drastically different direction than my recent vegetarian-friendly entries. Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce heavy on cilantro and garlic that is spicy and delicious.

Ordinarily, I would save the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus for a bonus recipe, but because I’ve been a lazy person and not posting for awhile, I’m just going to give it to you at the end of the post. It was particularly delicious. Anyways, a big thanks to Dana and Pat for giving me stuff to cook, a place to cook it, and a fun meal! On to the stuff.

Stuff

for the steak

This is a terrible picture. Dana has a super nice camera that I'm not smart enough to use. She took most of the pictures, they are very good. This one, she did not take.

4 steaks (I used 3/4″ T-bones, and ended up being pretty pleased with them)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 c. of soy sauce

4 T black pepper (yes, a whole tablespoon per steak)

1/4 c. olive oil

for the chimichurri

2 bunches of cilantro

5 cloves of garlic

2-3 chipotle peppers

1/2 c. olive oil

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

I've been told more pictures = better blog. Here's more pictures.

1 t. black pepper

1 t. salt

for the asparagus

2 bunches of asparagus

8 thin slices of prosciutto

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. dijon mustard

1 T. black pepper

1 t. salt

Steps

Steak

This is a very simple marinade by my standards. I generally leave good steak alone.

First, marination. For the steak, take all the ingredients that aren’t steak and put them onto the ingredient that is steak. Traditional South American steaks aren’t cut super thick, but I do not think that you would be detracting from your experience by using thicker steaks than I did here. Also, get a good solid dusting of black pepper and garlic onto each steak — I actually put a little bit of marinate on each one individually, I didn’t just throw them all into a bag like I often will. With steak, you’re trying to create the right kind of texture to sear well, and an even coating of seasonings aides in that process. At this point, let your steaks sit for an hour or 2 (or even overnight if you feel like refrigerating them), and go do other things, like make the chimichurri and asparagus.

Now, grilling. When I grill steak, I try to grill steak on as hot a grill as I possibly can. This is because I believe that

The photography here makes me look like I'm flipping a steak like a pancake. I'm not. Really cool picture, though

steaks should be seared to lock in all the delicious juices and then cooked not a minute past medium-rare. If you ask for a steak cooked medium, I will scowl at you and then go ahead and make it, but I won’t be happy about it.

I was using a propane grill at the apartment complex that got pretty stinking hot. I let it heat up for about 15 minutes before I started cooking the asparagus, and then cooked them for awhile before the steaks hit. Once I was ready to put steaks on, I cooked them for two minutes a side on a fire that was probably close to 525 degrees. By the time you get everything flipped and then pulled off the fire, that’s close to 5 minutes total, which is not a lot of time, but remember that I was working with fairly thin steaks. Also, for those of you who are environmentally prevented from grilling things, I’ll do an entry on cast-iron skillet steak cooking when I get back to NYC.

One last thing about steaks — let them sit for at least 10 minutes before you serve them. Meat does this crazy thing where it reabsorbs its natural juices as it cools off, so if you let stuff cool some, it turns out way more juicy flavorful and tender. It’s worth the wait, don’t get impatient.

Chimichurri

Not pictured: garlic.

Chimichurri sauce is delicious. It is also very easy. Essentially, you combine all of the ingredients in the blender and blend it until it’s not chunky anymore. If you wanted to half the recipe I used, you totally could, because we had a bunch left over, but extra chimichurri sauce is not a bad thing to have in your fridge for a few days.

We don't need no stinkin' stems.

In terms of little things you may want to know, I broke the ends off of the cilantro, as demonstrated in this lovely photo, before I put them into the blender. I threw the stems away. While cilantro stems taste good, they’re more watery than the leafy parts are, so they would have made the sauce runny. However, I definitely didn’t cut up the cilantro and remove the stems from in the leafy part, I just got rid of the bottom stems. I did this with a twist and rip method, which is much quicker and easier than a “use a cutting board and a knife and make more stuff dirty” method.

Not only does getting some serious lean into your blending stance make you look cooler, it also greatly increases blender performance.

Chipotle peppers are delicious, and were great in this sauce, but if you can’t find them you can use any dried chiles. Because of the oil and vinegar, if the sauce sits for 30-45 minutes the peppers will become reconstituted enough to be delicious instead of papery. Also, our chimichurri was pleasantly spicy, but if you’re a chilehead like me you would have preferred that I put 4 chipotles in it.

Lastly, if you do something dumb, like forget to put the garlic in the blender before you make the chimichurri, don’t panic. (Note: I might have forgotten to put the garlic in the blender before I made the chimichurri.) Just chop whatever you forget (assuming it’s solid and not liquid) and then throw it in. You’re chopping it so that you don’t have to over-process everything else just to get what you did wrong small enough for consumption. Anyways, let this delicious sauce sit for at least 30 minutes, which should be enough time to prep the asparagus and grill everything.

Asparagus

Break me off a piece of that asparagus...that isn't really edible...

Some of you may not love asparagus. I say to you, “stop being dumb.” Stuff’s crazy delicious, and apparently good for you.

Before you cook asparagi (probably not the right plural, but it is very fun to say), you have to break off the tough and woody ends. This is the end of the asparagus that does not look like a little tree. to break them, hold the asparagus by the end you want to break off in one hand and the middle of the stalk in the other and bend it till it snaps. Throw away the crappy part, and put all the not crappy parts together in a casserole dish facing the same direction. You’ll thank me for telling you to make them all face the same direction later. Once you’ve snapped all of the asparagi, it is time to marinate them.

I actually stole the idea for prosciutto-wrapped asparagus from a friend that had them at some restaurant, but those were seasoned very basically. I like really big flavor, so I combined my normal grilled asparagus marinate with the prosciutto wrapping technique and this is what we got. To marinate the asparagus, put you vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper on top of the asparaguses (see, that’s siller looking than asparagi) and then swirl them around to coat. Remember though, keep them all facing the same direction or face grave inconvenience at the next step. These things could keep overnight in the fridge at this point, but as long as they sit for 10-15 minutes they will be fine.

bundled 'gus.

To make the little bundles of aspara-joy you see in the pictures, simply take a piece of prosciutto out of its packaging (the stuff is thin and delicate, so be careful) and lay it on your cutting board. Take a section of the asparagus —approximately as many as you think is a reasonable sized serving for one person — and set them on top of the prosciutto about 1/4 of the way from the left side of the prosciutto to the right. Now, fold the left piece of prosciutto over and then roll the whole bundle all the way to the end of the prosciutto carpet. Repeat until you are out of asparagus. Also, a little too small is going to be much easier to manage on the grill than a little too big, I had one blow up and was really embarrassed.

Gus on grill. Dana takes awesome photos, yes?

When you’re grilling these things, they will tighten up as they cook, and you’ll need to be sure not to beat them up too much or they’ll fall apart. Ours took about  15 minutes on a hot grill, turning 1/4 turns frequently. When the asparagus started to look done (flecks of black on the ends and more wilted and, well, cooked than they did before), I moved them to the top rack of the grill so that I could make my steaks. You could achieve the same results as my 10 minutes high/5 minutes indirect heat method by cooking 20 minutes or so on a more medium grill.

Once I had everything done, I tried to plate the steaks with the chimichurri sauce in a way that looked really pretty. I did not succeed, but I do think that this stuff looks pretty tasty.

Medium rare achieved.

Let’s Eat!

–N

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2 Responses to “Chipotle Chimichurri Steak and Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus”

  1. Jen K. 15 August 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    So excited you are back! Especially since I am currently living vicariously through other people’s food adventures… I will definitely have to try this when I start cooking again!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chipotle chimichurri | Inkinmyblood - 4 August 2012

    […] Chipotle Chimichurri Steak and Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus …Aug 15, 2011 … Hello friends! Sorry about the delay between entries, I’ve been traveling and not really had access to the internet. So I was on the move from … […]

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