With perhaps the exception of empanadas, nothing screams South America more than picanha steak with chimichurri.
A relatively unknown cut of meat outside South Amercia, picanha is also known as rump-cap or top sirloin-cover. Picanha is characterised by its thick layer of fat and heavy marbling, which gives the meat incredible flavour and succulence, making it one of the most prized cuts of beef to those in the know. Until recently picanha was a cut rarely found outside the Americas, but thankfully that seems to have changed and it is increasingly easy to source locally. Steak-lovers of the world rejoice: picanha is finally here and hopefully it’s here to stay!
So let me not undersell this, picanha and chimichurri are truly a match made in steak-heaven! The succulent steak and piquant sauce are perfect bedfellows, with the robust and zesty chimichurri cutting through the richness of the steak. Put quite simply, the combination of picanha and chimichurri is pure carnivoristic perfection.
Steak has never tasted this good!
Picanha Steak with Chimichurri: serves 4
- 1kg Picanha Steak
- Salt & Pepper
- A head of garlic, cut in half
- Olive Oil
- 8 skewers (2 skewers per steak)
- Kitchen string
For the Chimichurri
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot (1/4 red onion), very finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp. red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Sea Salt & fresh black pepper to taste
- Cut your picanha across the grain into 4 strips (between 1.5 and 2 inches thick). Season liberally with sea salt and then cover with cling wrap. Set aside in the fridge for an hour
- In the meantime, make your chimichurri by combining all the pre-prepared fresh ingredients with olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste and whisk thoroughly to combine. Do not place in the fridge, it should be served at room temperature
- When you are ready to cook your steaks remove them from the fridge and wipe off as much of the salt as possible. Rub the steak all over with the head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and massage into the meat
- Preheat your griddle, grill or braai/barbeque
- Fold the steak into a “c” shape with the layer of fat at the top. Maintain the “c'” shape by tying the steak with kitchen string and then secure the meat with the two skewers. Season with freshly ground black pepper
- Place the steak fat side down on the hottest part of the griddle or braai/barbeque and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the steaks, searing each side for a couple of minutes with the braai lid down. Once seared all over, move the steak off the direct heat and close the lid. Cook the steaks at between 130°c and 150°c for 5 to 10 minutes depending on how you like your steak. Personally I prefer my picanha medium-rare
- Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before serving with the chimichurri