Churrasco Steak with Candied Red Pepper Chimichurri


I made a promise. No more cookbooks.

No more cookbooks forever, or no more cookbooks for right now, she asks, shocked and wounded? Right now, Well, perhaps forever. You have over 200 cookbooks. Really, dear, how many cookbooks does one need, he asks, trying to find a place to hide. All this coming from a man who owns a dozen hammers, pliers of different ilk, shapes and sizes, and more dust and noise making things than one could shake a salt shaker at!

Need? What do cookbooks have to do with NEED!? Doesn’t he understand, cookbooks are like air? Food? Wine?  As the main beneficiary of all the goodness that comes out of these books, you’d think he’d be a little more understanding! And truthfully, he is always very happy to be my favorite guinea pig!

Take this fabulous book, New Latin Classics by  Lorena Garcia. Loaded with updates on some of my favorite Latin dishes.  This will be just the first of many to be tried from this fab cookbook.

Shhhhhh … this new book will be our little secret!

I saw this recipe on line and I knew this one would be a winner. I became a little nervous about the chimichurri after candying the peppers. They seemed a little sweet and a little strange, and the big guy thought they smelled funny. But, when you add in all the garlic and shallots, they counterbalance the sweetness with a sharp kick, the herbs add some freshness. The capers? Well, we l eft them out. SOMEONE doesn’t like them!

This was absolutely great. Steak, a fab arugula salad, crispy potato planks, add wine and the perfect guy … you are in store for a wonderful evening!

For the Chimichurri:

  • 1/2 C finely minced candied red pepper
  • 1/4 C candied pepper liquid
  • 1/4 C brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 C finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 2 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Chimichurri ingredients

To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with their liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside.

For the Steaks:

  • 4 8-ounce skirt steak
  • 6 1/2 t coarse sea salt
  • 3 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 4 C baby arugula
  • 1 C halved cherry tomato

Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.

Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the black pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other side until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside.

While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat.

Arrange the 4 steaks on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.

Lamb Chops on the Grill

When a dear friend calls and says, ‘Would you cook for me? I really feel like lamb. I’ll even pick up the lamb.’ How can you say no?

The original plan was for rack of lamb, but we finally had a day with a break in the heat. The grill and eating outside was really the way to go. Change plans. Racks out. Chops in. Good thing I really am an adaptable gal.

Now comes the agonizing part … at least for me … marinade. I needed a theme for the meal, at least a direction. I mean, how can you decide what to serve with all of this without picking a marinade flavor profile. Everything else has to follow suit.

Pouring through the books on my bookshelves, I came across Ina Garten’s recipe for lamb kabobs in the Barefoot Contessa at Home. The recipe had a decidedly Mediterranean slant, Greek even, so it was off to the races!

I modified the recipe from kabobs to chops and it was fabulous … if I do say so myself!

  • 16 loin lamb chops
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 t minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 C mild olive oil
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 4 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 t Kosher salt

NOTE: Use whatever amount of lamb chops you’d like. This fed 3 hungry people with leftovers! I would think 2 or 3 chops per person … they’re so tiny!

Place the chops in a glass dish – I used a 9×11 Pyrex.  Season the chops with salt and pepper. Whisk together the garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, red wine, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl. Pour over the chops. Cover with saran wrap and let marinate for a few hours or over night.

You can either – heat a charcoal grill with coals and spread the coals in 1 tight layer on the grill.  Or use a gas BBQ. Whichever way you go, make sure not to over cook these little beauties. They go from almost done to over done in seconds.

I served this with hummus and pita chips to start, lemony potatoes, fatoush salad and tzatziki. YUM! The rest of the recipes to follow!