My secret to simple, summertime meals (and sensational cocktails) is an herb garden. I plant one every year with vibrant flavors I love and use often—basil (Genovese), rosemary, lemon-thyme, parsley and cilantro. I also throw in one or two herbs I’m not that familiar with. Last year, it was lemon balm. This year it’s dark opal basil. Almost everyday during the summer months, I turn to my little garden for inspiration. I use the majority of my fresh herbs to make punchy salsas, pestos and sauces. These are great on grilled meats and seafood and can be pulled together quickly and easily with only a few pantry staples. I also like to add a handful to scrambled eggs, salads, pastas and grilled pizzas and infuse them in sugar water for fragrant simple syrups.
Last week, I quickly threw together a basil and pecan pesto to excite an otherwise boring platter of grilled tilapia. So darn good, I tell you! Unfortunately, it was a late night and everyone was starving and tired. That poor timing left me with no pictures and no post. But I promised my kids I’d make that dish again real soon at which time I will nab some glamorous photos and make sense of my scribbled recipe. On a brighter note, yesterday I did plan ahead for dinner. This time, I turned to my garden herbs for my version of Chimichurri—that sassy Argentinean condiment. Chimichurri is also quick, easy and extremely versatile. And I love its bright, herbaceous and garlicky kick. For this meal, I served the Chimichurri with a couple of lightly charred beef flat iron steaks. The entire family raved about this herb-garden-inspired feast too. One taste and you’ll understand why.
Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Chimichurri Recipe
2 flat iron steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
1/4 cup soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chimichurri, recipe follows
In a large, resealable plastic bag combine the steaks, oil, Lea & Perrins and soy sauce. Seal bag and massage to blend. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours, occasionally turning bag. About 30 minutes prior to cooking time, remove steaks from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Remove steaks from marinade; drain and discard marinade. Cook steaks to desired doneness. For medium-rare, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes per side (but total cooking time will greatly depend on thickness of meat). Remove from grill and let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with Chimichurri. Makes 6-8 servings.
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
1 large jalapeño pepper, ends removed
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a blender, combine the vinegar and next 7 ingredients (through lemon juice). Blend until smooth. With the blender running, gradually add the olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The Chimichurri can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.