May 15th, 2014
By Kim Dannies
Spunky spring sauce
Chimichurri is a funky name for a spunky sauce that tastes like you marched a steak through the garden. Basically an herb-infused dressing, it has frisk and play courtesy of pungent spring herbs and chili peppers. Originating in South America, chimichurri is simple to prepare and fun to eat. For some springtime spunk, treat your gang to this fabulous feast of steak, salad and fries.
In a food processor combine 5 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes (to taste); 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 2 cups each of fresh mint and cilantro leaves. Process 40 seconds. Pour marinade over 1 pound (and up to 3 pounds) of flank or skirt steak. Marinate in fridge 3-4 hours.
Mint Chimichurri Sauce
Hand mince 2-3 garlic cloves and combine with the juice and zest of a lemon. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 thinly sliced scallion, salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Gently tear ½ cup cilantro leaves and mint leaves, each; add to the bowl along with ¾ cup best quality olive oil. Blend ingredients and taste for seasoning. Grill steak; slice against the grain. Serve with chimichurri sauce. Yields 1 cup.
Avocado & Pumpkin Seed Greens
Toss 2 cups of pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper; toast pumpkin seeds 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Combine fresh arugula, chopped radicchio and a cubed ripe avocado. (Judge salad by using 1 fistfull of greens/person and 1 avocado/ 3 diners.) Toss greens with a light vinaigrette. Sprinkle on desired amount of pumpkin seeds.
Spicy Parsnip Fries
Peel 3-5 parsnips (1 medium parsnip/person). Slice in half and then cut into finger-sized strips (err on the thicker side.) Toss in olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite spice combination. Roast in a 400-degree oven 20-30 minutes; toss the fries occasionally during the roasting process. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with Roasted Tomato Confit.
Roasted Tomato Confit
Toss together 5-cups of grape tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Pour into a roasting dish and roast alongside parsnips at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. They will pop and hiss and turn into a delicious ketchup-mush.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies..