Argentinian Grilled Beef Tenderloin
- SERVINGS: 6
Argentineans love beef. In fact in Buenos Aires many locals eat beef a dozen times a week. So great is their respect for this noble meat that no Argentinean would ever dream of marinating it or of seasoning it with anything other than salt. Still, two condiments are commonly served with grilled meats: a gusty parsley-garlic sauce called chimichurri and a robust relish called salsa criolla. The former is a cross between pesto and vinaigrette, made with fragrant fresh flat-leaf parsley and a nose-blasting dose of garlic. (Don't worry about bad breath: the parsley acts as a breath freshener.) Salsa criolla combines tomatoes, onions and peppers.
As in North America, a typical Argentinean steak house would serve baked potatoes or french fries. But at least one Buenos Aires restuarantLas Naszarenasalso offers a sort of pan-fried potato-onion frittata called Tortilla Española.
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- Light a grill; for best flavor, toss a few soaked oak chips onto the fire. Alternatively, preheat a grill pan and oil it lightly. Generously season the steaks with salt and grill over a hot fire for about 8 minutes per side for medium rare. Let the steaks stand for 3 minutes, then serve with wedges of Tortilla Española and bowls of Chimichurri Sauce and Salsa Criolla.
The jalapeños and the garlic in the chimichurri add noticeable heat to the grilled meat. Look for a Merlot from Argentina or California with enough fruit to tolerate the spice.