Fire It Up on the Fourth: Try Gaby Melian’s Argentinian Take On Grilled Skirt Steak
Looking for something new to throw on the grill? This take on asado just might be your new go-to.
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Ooh, you’re all in for a real treat…. Allow me to introduce you to Argentinian-born chef Gaby Melian who has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years. She’s done it all in the kitchen — from private chef to culinary teacher to Bon Appétit test kitchen manager — and continues to share her deep love of food and vast kitchen know-how across multiple media outlets. In fact, she has a new cookbook for kids called Gaby’s Latin American Kitchen coming out later this summer. I hope it’s okay for food-loving-middle-aged kids to pick it up too, because I am all over that. Take it away, Gaby! -NPH
In Argentina, we take our meat grilling very seriously. And if you’ve ever been invited to an Argentine asado, our version of a barbecue, you know what I mean. “Asado” is both the act of gathering for this grilled meal outdoors, but also the name of the dish itself. Each “asador” has his or her special way of preparing the meat before grilling. I like my asado with just a sprinkle of a good kosher salt and served with salsa chimichurri. (In fact, in my opinion, the only absolute requirement for asado is chimichurri, a sauce made of parsley, garlic, some herbs and spices — or at least this is how we make it in Argentina.)
Entraña (skirt steak) is one of my favorite cuts to grill. It is inexpensive, it cooks quickly and you don’t need to futz with it too much. In Argentina, most butchers sell entraña with the fat and membrane that covers it still intact — you put the membrane side straight on the grill first to get it crunchy. In the U.S., most markets sell it completely clean, so it’s a pretty lean cut. Some people love to marinate this as a result. But I say: No! You do not have to marinate entraña. The best way to go with this cut is quick. Just salt and a short time on a ripping hot grill. Plus, of course, chimichurri.
My recipe for chimichurri was developed by my mom. It’s my secret weapon. Chimichurri is served as an accompaniment to meats — you can present your meat drizzled with it, but most commonly it is served in a sauce boat or directly from the jar so that each person can add as much as they like to their plate. (As tempting as it is, don’t make the chimichurri in a food processor or blender; this will give you an emulsified sauce — and that, my friends, is not chimichurri!) My chimichurri recipe is also featured in my new book with America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Coming this August, Gaby’s Latin American Kitchen is a great cookbook for those looking to explore new Latin American recipes with their kids.
GABY MELIAN’S ENTRAÑA A LA PARRILLA
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 3 cups parsley leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ -¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, combine parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the chimichurri to a 2-cup glass jar. If all the ingredients are not covered in oil, add extra oil to cover. Cover the jar tightly with a lid. Give it a nice shake and refrigerate until ready to use. (Chimichurri can be refrigerated for up to 4 days — just make sure all the ingredients are covered with plenty of olive oil to prevent the parsley from oxidizing.)
ENTRAÑA (SKIRT STEAK)
- 2 pounds entraña (skirt steak). The inside cut is always the most tender – just ask your butcher.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Preheat the grill to 500 degrees (or higher). Clean and oil the cooking grates. While the grill heats up, pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season the entraña evenly with kosher salt on both sides. You want to do this at least 15 minutes before grilling.
- Place the entraña on the grill. Cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side if the steak is really thin. If the steak is thicker you can cook it for up to 5 minutes per side, but never longer than 5 minutes!
- Transfer the entraña to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice the entraña against the grain. Drizzle the sliced entraña with chimichurri or bring it to the table and let your guest decide how much chimichurri they want.
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