Since we acquired a fancy new BBQ back in January, you could probably say that my Irishman and I have been more than a little obsessed with cooking outdoors this year.
Even in the depths of Winter, here in the Snowy Mountains, we’ve been rugging up and firing up the barbie most weekends.
There has, of course, been a lot of experimentation.
Different charcoals, different types of wood smoking chips, super high temperatures, long slow low temperatures, different cuts of meat, different veg… I could go on.
It may surprise you, though, there’s been one area that we haven’t really gotten into.
It could be scars from an earlier unsuccessful attempt. But when I think about it, it’s more about being organised.
Proper marinades take a bit of planning and let’s face it. Time.
A few months back, I had the brilliant idea to start playing around with post-cooking marinades. OR what you could call sauces.
So while the BBQ king has been busy working his magic, I’ve been whipping up my little marinades.
As soon as the steak, or whatever is done, it has a tasty bath to rest in.
No forward planning, no extra time, AND maximum flavour. The best thing is that the smoky meat juices accumulate in the marinade, giving the best tasting sauce.
We’re talking the perfect ‘marinade’ for when you’re short on time and keen to get food on the table.
Today I’m sharing the recipe for my current obsession.
I wish I could say it was all my idea.
But the truth is, there’s a whole nation of BBQ lovers who are ahead of me on this one. You have to admire the Argintinians and their chimichurri sauce.
So versatile, so delicious, so quick – the perfect ‘marinade’ for all cooks really, but especially those who are tired, hungry and in a hurry.
tofu steaks with chimichurri & baby spinach
takes 10 mins
I’m not sure that the Argentine grilling king, Francis Mallmann would agree, but tofu and chimichurri are seriously a match made in heaven. Tofu bringing the lovely soft texture and substance to the partnership. And chimichurri filling in all the glorious details of flavour, sharpness and colour.
I’ve just bunged it all on top of some baby spinach leaves, for some instant veg / salad that gets dressed as well with our hero sauce.
If I can’t convince you to try this with tofu, by all means serve with your favourite steak or some grilled chicken or even fish.
300g (10oz) hunk firm tofu
2 large handfuls baby spinach
8-10 tablespoons chimichurri sauce (recipe below)
1. Place a frying pan on a high heat.
2. Drain tofu and cut in half so you have two large flat ‘steaks’. Pat tofu fry with paper towel.
3. Place a little oil in the pan and fry the tofu for 2-3 minutes on each side until well browned.
4. Divide spinach between two plates. Top with tofu steaks and finish it off with a generous dosing of the chimichurri sauce.
makes about 3/4 cup – enough for 4 people.
takes 5 mins
Inspired by Francis Mallmann.
Feel free to play around with this recipe. Especially the garlic levels and the seasoning. Mallmann recommends ‘always red wine vinegar’ but I’m happy to go out a limb here and say that sherry vinegar is even better. Sometimes it’s good to live dangerously.
A super versatile sauce, I’m struggling to think of something it wouldn’t enhance. So far I’ve tried it with tofu, steak and chicken and they’ve all been super delicious. Keen to try it with fish next. Especially oily fish like mackerel or sardines.
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
large handful flat leaf parsley
large handful fresh oregano, leaves picked
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 cloves garlic, peeled & very finely chopped
1. Combine sherry vinegar with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Stir until salt is dissolved.
2. Finely chop herbs and add to the sauce along with the chilli and garlic.
3. Stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
video version of the recipe
recently on the Stonesoup Diaries
And I’ve set a date for the launch of my new eCookbook – ‘The Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion’ – 12th October. More details soon!