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Grilled Gaucho Steak with Blue Cheese and Pita

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of JosephDeLeo.cookstr.com

On a long trip to South America, I fell in love with the Argentinean way of cooking and eating beef. On the pampas, the steak was skewered on a metal rod and placed in the ground right in the fire. When it was ready, it was sliced and served on bread with the amazing chimichurri sauce. We duplicate this at home by using a hearth grill (slipped right into the living-room fireplace for cooking) and setting up the entire dinner on the coffee table in front of the roaring fire.

Cooking Notes: A skirt steak is a relatively tough cut from the underbelly of the animal. It is usually about ½ inch thick and is popularly used for making fajitas.

You will have chimichurri sauce left over. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Use it as a marinade and/or sauce for other grilled meats, such as pork or lamb.

Entertaining Notes: This is a perfect dish for serving on a buffet. Simply plate each component and let your guests serve themselves. Find some Argentinean music to play in the background for the full effect.

Wine Notes: Ask your local wine shop for a good, affordable Chilean or Argentinean red.

Serves8

Cooking Methodgrilling

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentfood processor, grill

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, garlicky, herby, meaty, savory, spiced, tart

Type of Dishsandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
  • Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 red onions, sliced crosswise ½ inch thick
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
  • Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ pounds skirt steak, about ½ inch thick
  • 8 pita breads
  • ½ pound blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cored, cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices, and slices halved

Instructions

Make the chimichurri sauce: In a food processor, combine the parsley, bay leaves, garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse until well mixed.

Transfer the sauce to a glass or plastic container; you should have about 2½ cups.

Measure out about ¾ cup for this recipe. Cover and refrigerate the remainder for other uses.

Ready a charcoal grill or gas grill for direct heat grilling over a hot fire. Preheat the oven to 225°F.

Make the chili water: In a small bowl, combine the paprika, 2 tablespoons salt, and the water and stir until the salt dissolves.

Lightly brush the onion slices on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook, turning once, until well caramelized and softened, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

At the same time, season the steaks with salt and brush on some of the chili water. Place the steaks on the grill and cook, basting 2 or 3 more times with the chili water and turning once, until cooked to desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 4 minutes.

Lightly brush the pita breads with olive oil and set on the grill, turning once, to heat for 1 minute. Remove from the grill.

Cut the top 20 percent off each pita bread (save the trimmings for another use). Divide the blue cheese evenly among the pita breads, stuffing it into the pockets. Lay the pita breads in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to keep warm.

Cut the skirt steaks across the grain into ½-inch-thick slices and place in a bowl. Add ½ cup of the chimichurri sauce and toss well.

Remove the pita breads from the oven and place on warmed individual plates. Divide the meat and tomato slices among the pita breads, slipping them into the pockets. Pull the onion slices apart into rings and slip the onion rings into the pockets as well. Spoon 1½ teaspoons chimichurri sauce over each stuffed pita bread and serve at once.

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