A few months back, I stumbled on an interesting article on The Atlantic that compared the importance of relationships to ambition. I felt like the article was written just for me, but I quickly realized there was as a whole generation of young working professionals who were also trying to figure out that balance. From the busy ibankers to the innovative software engineers to the traveling consultants to the sleep deprived doctors – and really, everyone in between – this is a constant debate. I write about this topic too often, but having someone else talk about it (and someone as reputable as The Atlantic), made me feel like there is solidarity and empathy. There are others struggling to figure it out. There is a whole association of people who can potentially provide group therapy or support.
Having said that, I haven’t been giving my relationships much attention. Not with a heavy commute and long hours (doing nothing particularly meaningful, just chasing that paper) wasted away in front of a computer screen. But this weekend, my fingers were tingling to be in a kitchen. The touch sharp steel as it slices through raw meat, or that pungent smell that hits one’s nostrils as an onion is cut open. It’s been way too long. I needed kitchen therapy time. I needed a family meal. And this is the result.
Haven’t lost all my mojo yet…
Chimchurri Steak & Potatoes
Argentina has blessed the earth with many things – Diego Maradona. Lionel Messi. And (IMHO) to a lesser extent, I should probably include tango and the Iguazu waterfalls. But today, I am most thankful for the famous gauchos, or cowboys, who have herded the world’s best cattle on the wide grassy pampas. This is a recreation of a typical gaucho dish. Enjoy.
5 cloves of garlic
2-3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 c fresh cilantro, firmly packed (2 bunches, stems removed)
1 c fresh flat leaf parsley, firmly packed (1 bunch, stems removed)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
1-3 tbs lime juice (to taste)
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste
2 1/2 lbs, 1-inch thick flank steaks (you could use more expensive rib-eye or New York or sirloin)
salt and pepper
Place the garlic and shallots into a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Scrape down the sides, then add the cilantro and parsley. Pulse until finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil and lime juice, while pulsing the food processor. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne/pepper flakes to taste. Set aside.
Place steaks on a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Then, marinate the steaks in roughly half the chimchurri sauce, making sure to coat each steak. Wrap tightly, refrigerate and allow to marinate for 8 hours or over night.
Preheat the grill. Alternatively, you could also pan-fry, though it lacks the beautiful char and smoke from the grill.
Place steaks over the hot grill, and cook to desired doneness. Depending on the crowd, I usually aim for medium-rare (David) or medium-well (mother). To achieve beautiful grill marks, don’t be tempted to touch or move the steaks. They need to stay on one side for a while (2-5 mins, depending on thickness/desired doneness) to get those lovely scorches. Try to flip the steaks only once.
Remove the steaks from the grill, and let steaks rest and redistribute moisture. Slice steak into strips and garnish with additional chimchurri. If you like it hot, a dash or two of La Boca Roja is good too. I served these up with some roasted potatoes and a bitter/nutty/tangy kale and brussels sprout salad. It was the perfect complement.
Of note – here, I used a cheap flank steak, and to be honest – you don’t really need a fancy/expensive cut. It’s all about the technique and marinade. This overnight chimchurri marinade helps to tenderize and flavorize the plain/boring flank meat. The chimchurri is fragrant and herbal, making the steak surprisingly refreshing and lighter than it is. It’s great contrast to the meat. Additionally, making sure you cook the meat to the right temperature and allowing the steaks to redistribute the moisture also helps in keeping the steaks tender and juicy.
As the weekend comes to the end, I think I’ve found good balance this weekend. Only a few hours working in Excel and Powerpoint, and a lot of time just nurturing my favorite relationships.
Thanks for reading and until next time,