Succulent steak spiced with fiery cayenne is accompanied by a cooling, tangy chimichurri made with parsley and cilantro both, as well as the sharpness of a fresh-squeezed lemon.
Temperatures dropped this week. If you live to the east, you’re feeling it now. A wicked wind cut through gloves and coats, stinging any visible skin with its razor-like edge. Hats became mandatory, sometimes left on indoors to keep a small bit of heat from escaping as the wind howled at the doors and shook the window glass in their frames.
Inside our home, we swept bits of dirt from the floors, scrubbing them clean. Piles were placated as they met the recycling bin or were filed away in their rightful places. Scattered shoes slid into their spots, and walls were wiped down as I tried to create calm in the dead of winter. Clutter makes my anxiety flare. While my house is never quite clean and far from spotless, maintaining a thin grasp on some sense of clarity keeps me from losing my mind, especially when I’m stuck inside, confined to these walls without escape.
The cleaning wasn’t on my account, though. No, we have had 10 guests through our house in the past five days, and with January being as it is—long and cold and difficult to see through the greyness—our house had become a veritable minefield of LEGO and laziness. Each year we seem to need a reminder that friendship and family aren’t about how perfect the house looks, but about being able to share our home and table with others. We picked up just enough, and in they came to our imperfect world, to create memories and make the temperatures outside feel a bit more bearable.
The grill was lit, and fresh herbs were picked from the transplanted greenery that lines the inside of our patio door. The sharp grassy aroma of parsley filled the room. Pungent garlic was peeled, and a Meyer lemon squeezed, its bright notes contrasting and cleaning the air.
Chimichurri is traditionally served longitude asado-style meats. If you’re opposed to the distinct floral of cilantro, you can make it with all parsley instead. The lemon here brightens our party just a bit, making this not just an excellent addition to protein-based fare, but also to a plate of steamed vegetables or carbohydrates (think potatoes, rice, quinoa). The result is a sapid affair capable of turning even the coldest evening on end.
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
For the Cayenne Grilled Steaks:
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on personal preference
4 8-ounce ribeye steaks
To make the chimichurri: Place the parsley leaves, cilantro leaves, oregano leaves, garlic cloves, shallot, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, lemon juice, and the red wine vinegar in a food processor. Turn the food processor on and blend while drizzling the olive oil in. Stop and pulse until well mixed. Set aside.
For the steaks: Mix together the salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Liberally season both sides of each steak.
Preheat your grill on high (450-500º F). Clean and oil your grill. Place the steaks on the hot grill, close the lid and wait for 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Remove the steaks from the grill and wrap in foil for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to serving plates. Serve with chimichurri on the side or over the top.
Makes 6-8 servings.