I was once whizzing down from the top of a mountain in Argentina in a rather antiquated cable car when its operator fixed with me an evil grin and said: “Remember the Malvinas!” Fortunately for me he was only joking and in spite of any lingering feelings (on either side) about the Falklands War I met with nothing but warmth and friendship as I travelled around the country.
For a month I lived almost entirely on steak. Well, steak and salads and fruit, but the Argentinians know their beef and how to cook it and one of my favourite ways is with their chimichurri, a herby, pungent sauce. Recipes vary but it generally includes parsley, oregano and garlic, sometimes chilli, all bound in an oil and vinegar dressing.
The proportions below are just a guide. If you prefer more or less of any of the herbs or want to leave out the chilli, go for it. Equally, you can chuck in more chilli and garlic if you want it to be a bit more eye-watering. Whatever you choose, this will be one of the tastiest – and fastest – meals you’re likely to cook this summer.
The sauce quantities will stretch to four people, or it’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of days without losing its freshness. And of course you can use bigger, fatter steaks if you like, increasing the cooking time accordingly.
Minute Steaks with Chimichurri
About 250g minute steaks
100g fresh parsley
30g fresh coriander
Small bunch of oregano or marjoram (2-3 tbsp leaves, stripped from stems)
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1-2 tspn chilli flakes, to taste
1 tspn salt
120 ml red wine vinegar
120 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Whizz all of the sauce ingredients except the oil in a food processor until they’re blended but still have some texture. Add the oil and whizz again until the sauce emulsifies.
Place the minute steaks in a non-reactive dish and taking about a third of the sauce, pour it over the meat and toss it so the steaks are lightly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
When you’re ready to eat, put a griddle pan on a high heat and when it’s very hot, pour in enough oil to lightly coat the base, tipping the pan to get an even cover. Remove the steaks from their marinade, pat dry, and flash-fry quickly on each side, about 30 seconds or to taste. Alternatively, use a very hot barbecue.
Serve immediately with the rest of the chimichurri sauce on the side.