After an extended amount of time living in Buenos Aires, you figure out that steak is almost its own food group. You're able to not only get it whenever and wherever you want, but it's often the only thing you smell as you walk down restaurant-strewn streets. It's equally as likely to walk by restaurant patios and see people eating a mammoth slab of bife de choirzo for lunch at 2pm as it is to see the same scenario for 'dinner' at 2am. Although fantastic if you are craving a perfectly grilled piece of cow, it is clearly not something you would necessarily want to indulge in every day.
One of my favorite things about having steak down here, however, are the condiments they serve with it. The most popular and my ultimate favorite is the chimichurri sauce, as it speaks to my heart with it's bright acidity from red wine vinegar, smooth edge of good olive oil, and flavorful herbal punch of oregano and parsley. It is a perfect accompaniment to a rich and savory cut of steak, but incredibly versatile as to what else it could pair up with as well.
...like fish and guacamole! One night my roommate and I decided we wanted to make an argentinean inspired dinner at our apartment, but without using the standard and expected role of steak. Chimichurri sauce was my required inclusion to the meal, and we realized it would go equally as well with a nice piece of baked fish as it would steak. The lemon rice was the perfect bright pairing for a starch, and once I realized that chimichurri would not only go great mixed into guacamole, but that I could also call it Guaca-churri, it was a done deal trio.
It. Was. Delicious. Seriously, we still talk about the meal. It is so fantastically flavorful that you literally are blown away with every bite, which in turn makes you chew just a little bit slower to be able to taste every flavor element that just came off of your fork. Bright lemon, herbacious sauce, fresh chive, flaky light fish, smooth guac...es del cielo! (it's from heaven!).
And now, you too can taste a lighter side of Argentina. Buen provecho!
Chimichurri Baked Fish
All of these recipes Serve 2, and can be easily multiplied for a bigger crowd.
1 lb fresh white fish filets (cod, halibut, sea bass...)
1 batch chimichurri sauce (below)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 matzo cracker sheet, broken to pieces, or 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Fresh chives to garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place fish filets on a baking sheet and rub with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread chimichurri sauce on top of filets, and top with the thinly sliced shallot. Sprinkle matzo crumbles or bread crumbs on top.
Bake until filets are flaky and and opaque throughout. 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness of the
The dry spice mix we used was already blended, and was made of up dried oregano, dried parsley, granulated garlic, and red pepper flakes. All dry mixes will vary, so either taste yours before using and manipulate it to your liking, or mix your own! Alternatively, you can also make a fresh herb version using all of the same ingredients, just double the amount as the dry herbs are more intense in flavor than the fresh.
2 tablespoons dry chimichurri spice mix
2 teaspoons freshly minced chives
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
red pepper flakes, to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and use on anything! You can omit the tomato paste and use that version as a serving sauce as well.
Lemon Shallot Rice
2 cups cooked white rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of one lemon
Minced fresh chives to garnish
Heat a medium sized saute pan over a medium flame. Add butter and oil. Once the butter melts, add the shallots.
Saute until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Stir in rice to coat.
Pour lemon juice over rice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate the rice in the shape of the filets to act as a bed for the fish. Garish with fresh chives and serve with a big honkin' wedge of lemon.
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon chimichurri sauce (recipe above)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Mash the avocado in a bowl and mix in all of the rest of the ingredients.