Summer may be over, but thanks to grill pans, enjoying its flavors is still wonderfully easy. Craving some grilled yumminess on a recent cool evening, I brought back one of our favorites -- a flavorful, fun, and inexpensive take on grilled meat and veggies.
This recipe has evolved over the last few years, ever since my husband first described to me a dish he enjoyed when he was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. He remembered three things about it: the name – churrasco --; enjoying it in a tortilla with a mayonnaise-based sauce, and the grilled scallions. I searched the web, and no single recipe had all these components (and each attributed it to a different South American country), but those churrasco recipes detailing grilled meat marinated in flavors like verdant cilantro, hot jalapeno and savory oregano got my attention.
In an attempt to blend those flavors together with my husband’s memories -- and introduce some veggies -- I have developed a recipe that transforms the more commonly used chimichurri into a very light mayonnaise-based sauce, and brings peppers, onions and tomatoes into the mix. And, as I always do, I’ve tried to simplify and reduce the active prep time. I like this fajita-like meal but I also encourage you to try a more traditional churrasco recipe. Maybe you’ll come up with another version, too! Read on to get the recipe.
(This is also great meatless! Use portabella mushrooms instead of the steak! It also makes GREAT leftovers.)
Serves 3-4 adults with leftovers (or 2 hungry adults, plus one kid!)
Meat and veggies:
¾ - 1 lb. flank steak
1 red (or green) bell pepper
1 jalapeno or cooler pepper, like poblano, according to preference
Bunch of scallions, rinsed and outside leaves removed
1 ripe avocado (optional)
1 TB. Light mayonnaise
1 ½ TB olive oil (divided)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Large handful of cilantro, chopped finely
½ teaspoon lime zest
½ teaspoon lime juice, (zest the rind before opening and cutting for juice)
Salt (preferably coarse kosher salt) and pepper
1. Take steak out of the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature while you prepare other components.
2. Place the grill pan on medium heat to warm up.
3. Slice pepper and tomato lengthwise in half, and then cut each half in half, and then again to produce thick eighths of each vegetable. Cut the jalapeno in half. Place all veggies in a medium bowl, drizzle with ½ TB of oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix to evenly coat. Set aside.
4. Test the grill to see if it is ready: sprinkle a bit of water on it; if it sizzles, it’s ready.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the steak.
6. Place steak in the middle of the grill pan, and leave, untouched, for 3-5 minutes before flipping, depending on desired doneness and thickness of your piece.
7. With the steak in the middle, place scallions on edges of pan around the steak. They take the longest of the vegetables to grill up, so you’ll be leaving them there until everything is prepared.
8. Flip the steak. Cook for another 3-4 minutes for medium doneness, less for more rare. Remove from heat and let sit, loosely covered with tin foil, until meal is complete. Slice, across the grain, in ¼-inch slices.
9. Place vegetables – peppers first – on the grill. Try to leave untouched for several minutes to get those fantastic grill marks. Cook until grill marks appear and the peppers become a bit soft and glistening, usually about 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook other side if you like.
10. Place the tomatoes on the grill, too, if you have room, following the same directions. If you have a small grill pan, as I do, do the veggies in shifts, or try the suggestion in step 11 below.
11. To save time, avoid having to do shifts with the vegetables by grilling them only briefly in the pan to sear them, and then placing them all at the same time on a broil-safe pan and broiling them to your desired doneness.
12. Meanwhile, toast or grill tortillas. They grill very quickly, so be careful and don’t leave the area while they’re cooking.
13. Place mayo, remaining oil, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and zest in a bowl and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
14. To serve: take a small amount of the mayo sauce and smooth onto one tortilla. Smooth one tablespoonful of avocado onto the tortilla (if desired). Place steak, 1-2 slices of peppers, 1-2 chunks of tomatoes, one scallion, and fold like a burrito. Enjoy! Repeat!