A sizzling barbecue steak dinner with a South American twist
This quick and easy sauce is very versatile and is amazing with barbecued food
Barbecued steak with chimichurri and sweet potato
I love cooking on the barbecue. To be honest, our barbecue is never put away. I was cooking aubergines on it for baba ghanoush in November and checking on butterflied chicken breasts as the snow fell around me in February. And it was all worth it. A little taste of smoky summer.
Food just tastes completely different from the barbecue. It tastes like days off, long weekends and sunshine. Something we all needed as the never-ending winter rolled on. I have plans for an entire outdoor kitchen this summer, all we need now is the weather. This week’s recipe is the perfect one to kick off barbecue season.
The sweet potato mash is loosely based on one by Yotam Ottolenghi. I’ve long strayed from his original recipe, but I do remember he added cumin and a dash of maple syrup to his sweet potatoes, so I’ve been recreating that sweet, spicy warmth ever since. This is ideal as a make-ahead side dish. I usually make double the batch and freeze half in a buttered enamel dish, ready for popping into the oven.
There are so many variations around the world of herb packed, olive oil-based sauces, from pesto to pistou and salsa verde. Chimichurri is one of my favourites. It originates in Argentina, and is also found in Paraguay and Uruguay. It usually consists of parsley, a little oregano, olive oil, chilli, garlic, lemon juice and vinegar.
It can be used as an ingredient, to baste meat, or to serve on the table alongside other dishes. It’s amazing with barbecued food, so of course it makes an appearance on our table as summer approaches. It brightens and lifts smoky meats, charred from the flames. Argentina is famous for its steak and chimichurri is regularly brushed onto the meat as it sizzles on a grill, and more is served at the table. It’s also fantastic on chicken, as a salad dressing or drizzled over barbecued vegetables.
When it comes to making the sauce, ensure you chop the parsley by hand, the texture really does make a huge difference here. It’s not a smooth sauce but rather a loose, oil-based sauce with plenty of big flavours folded through. Red wine vinegar is best but you can use a little apple cider vinegar or all lemon juice instead. I used green jalapenos as I always have them in my fridge. Serve with sweetcorn topped with Parmesan.