Just because we are in the middle of our first heat wave of the summer (be grateful it’s August) doesn’t mean the cooking stops … at least for my clients. They don’t need to know how it gets done, only that it gets done and it tastes good! I, on the other hand, have been eating out at least 80 percent of my meals. It’s too hot, and most times some cold fruit or drink is what my body will settle for.
When I am cooking for clients in this hot and humid weather, I envision what I might want when I come home and prepare meals that will not keep them in the kitchen a moment longer than needed. Get in, heat it up (or not) and get out!
Part of my summer modus operandi is a freshly made condiment that brightens and heightens the natural flavors of the dishes I made. It is even better when the condiment can double as marinade. One of the best is the Argentine chimichurri sauce. Fresh herbs, aromatics, chilies and spices are gently infused into a bath of vinegar and olive oil, helping to breakdown and flavor the meats while marinating and then adding that extra zing when it hits your taste buds.
Recently, as part of a whole meal plan, I prepared surf and turf for a client. I called it “Battle Steak,” with wild swordfish steak versus organic grassfed ribeye steaks. Should the grill pan not always cause the fire alarm to go off, I would have used it for both. Instead, both were brought to room temperature (always makes for better, more even cooking) and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper (the ribeye more heavily), seared on the stovetop and finished in a preheated 375 to 400 degrees oven (relax, it’s only on for like 10 minutes after it comes to temperature) until the desired doneness.
While the steaks were resting (allowing the natural juices to redistribute, six to 10 minutes), I made chimichurri for the ribeye, but that swordfish wouldn’t throw it out of bed. This is a basic recipe. Definitely make it but absolutely use it as a road map to make your own unique condiment or marinade with the herbs, vinegars and oils you enjoy.
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
• 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeno, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
• 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tablespoons finely cho-
pped fresh oregano
• 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine vinegar, 1 tsp salt, garlic, shallot and chile in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil.
That’s it! Use some to marinate and the rest for anything you want … on salad, vegetables, a sandwich and more. Now get something cool to drink and get cooking!
The new “Amsterdam News FOOD” section is still looking for you food writers, sleuths and discoverers! Please send in writing samples (400 words or less) to AmNewsFOOD@ischop.com. Don’t miss a bite by following us on Twitter and Instagram at @NYAmNewsFOOD for all things food in and around Harlem and greater New York City, too.
Happy eating and thanks for reading! Tag us with #AmNewsFOOD with food finds to discover!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl and on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.