What Comes On An Argentine Parrillada?
Traditional Argentine parrillada, a wooden board arranged with a variety of grilled meats, is a delight for carnivores.
It includes sirloin steaks, chorizo, Morcilla Blood sausage, and beef short ribs.
We recommend the Churrasco, a juicy sirloin that is grilled to order and topped with vibrant chimichurri.
Chimichurri is a mashed-up blend of parsley, garlic, and olive oil, frequently accompanies beef. Every restaurant has its recipe for this popular condiment, varying amounts slightly.
You can also try a fishparrillada with prawns, mussels, and calamari; and a vegetable parrillada with roasted beets, grilled onions, and corn.
While beef remains its centerpiece, an assortment of meats and other ingredients is essential to a true parrillada.
Many diners start the meal with an appetizer of grilled provolone cheese, a dish that reflects Argentina’s sizable Italian population.
The sharp, aged cheese receives a light dusting of bread crumbs before cooking, then a mix of dried herbs and olive oil, when removed from the grill, soft and golden.
The main course traditionally includes pork and beef sausages, innards such as tripe and sweetbreads, and chicken.
Argentine Parrillada Cooking
Though there is consensus on the choice and seasoning of meats, Argentine opinion varies significantly once it is time to put the meat on the grill.
Should Argentine parrillada cook quickly or slowly, over a high flame or a low one, and how far should the grill be from the flame? “On any given weekend, 15 million Argentines are grilling, and some 16 million theories of how they should be cooking the meat,” explains Dereck Foster, food editor of the Buenos Aires Herald and author of the forthcoming “Gourmet Gaucho.”
Foster, a proud native-born Argentine, would have to count himself among one of the many theorists. “Certainly, I have my ideas,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m no different.”
Following the traditions of the gauchos, Argentines have other methods, besides grilling, of cooking over an open fire. Both chicken and fish, basted with lemon and butter, are often spit-roasted over open coals.
However, perhaps the most dramatic method of barbecuing is the roasting of pork ribs. Hung on double-crosses around the sides of a fire pit, the ribs receive the slow roast and flavor of a low fire without having their fat drip onto the coals and create smoke.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH SALSA CRIOLLA
For its accessibility and quick cooking time, flank steak was the preferred cut of the gauchos.
One of the few types of meat on which the Argentines use a marinade, flank steak responds to the sweet and sour elements of the salsa Criolla. This recipe is adapted from La Estancia in Buenos Aires.
- One medium-size yellow onion, cut in large dice
- One ripe red tomato, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- One red bell pepper, sliced in large dice
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- One tablespoon oregano
- One tablespoon sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 pounds flank steak
How To Make
Mix the onion, tomato, bell pepper, paprika, oregano, and sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl.
Season liberally with salt and black pepper. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
Append the oil, vinegar, and water, and stir thoroughly.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Reserve half of the salsa criolla in a small mixing bowl.
In a shallow dish, combine the other half of the mixture with the flank steak—cover and place both dishes in the refrigerator.
Let the flank steak marinate for at least 4 hours.
Prepare a large charcoal fire or set the gas grill to medium.
Once the coals are hot, remove the steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade—Grill the steak for 8 to 20 minutes, or until it reaches your desired degree of doneness.
Give the meat time to rest; few minutes is enough, and then slice it thinly.
Serve immediately, accompanied by the reserved salsa criolla as a condiment.
* To cook and mark steaks properly on the grill, once you have marked one side, turn it counterclockwise 45 degrees and continue cooking that side, the “presentation side,” with perfect marks. Then flip it to cook the other side.
* To season a tossed salad containing tomatoes, salt the tomatoes rather than the whole salad. That will give the salad a better flavor, and the dressing will not overpower the tomatoes.