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Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Potato Salad

Grilling season is right around the corner, and while most of us aren’t likely to host a big gathering due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you can still enjoy a backyard barbecue with the friends and/or family who are in your bubble. If you haven’t got an outdoor grill, it’s just as easy to cook this on the stovetop, using a grill pan to get those characteristic marks and flavor. Flank steak is not a tender piece of meat, so you’ll need to marinate it first, for a minimum of a few hours, or overnight.

Use a thermometer to test for the level of doneness you prefer — taking it off the heat about five degrees before the meat reaches the temperature you’re looking for. The meat in this post was cooked to about 125 degrees, then rested for a few minutes before slicing. While the meat rests, the temperature will rise a few degrees. Slice it thinly against the grain, on the diagonal.

What’s the perfect side dish for your meat? Well, potato salad, of course. While I love potato salads of all kinds, I am partial to the ones with an oil and vinegar base, the way my mother used to make them when I was growing up. But inspired by my friend Marie, whose food is always tempting, I took a cue from her and made a dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar, and using some “balsamic pearls” that were included in a food basket I won at a charity event. They are totally optional, and may be hard to find, but worth seeking for the unique look they add to the salad. Since chives are in full bloom right now, I added some chive flowers to the bowl too. For best results, use small yellow potatoes, like Yukon Gold, or fingerling potatoes, rather than the large starchy, baking potatoes.

Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over the meat for even more flavor, serve with the potato salad and a green vegetable and you’ve got a meal fit for company or a family backyard barbecue. The only thing missing is a bottle of good red wine. The recipes below will serve about six people, but if it’s just two of you, the leftovers are good the next day too. The meat is great served cold in a sandwich with the chimichurri sauce smeared on the bread, or made into a cold beef salad. If you get bored eating the potato salad a couple of days in a row, add it to some leftover vegetables and beaten eggs and turn it into a frittata. Leftovers never tasted so good.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Potato Salad
 
Author:
Serves: serves 6-8 people
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MEAT and MARINADE:
  • 2 lbs. flank steak
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used parsley and lemon balm, but have also used cilantro, which not everyone loves)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (I used some homemade candied jalapenos)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (I used some homemade candied jalapeños)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano,( or if you prefer, cilantro)
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • FOR THE POTATO SALAD:
  • 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, like Yukon Gold
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • about ¼ cup parsley, minced
  • about 4 tablespoons chives, minced
  • chive flowers, optional
  • dark balsamic pearls, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients for the meat and place in a container at least four hours ahead of grilling..
  2. Cook over an outdoor grill, or an indoor grill pan until the interior of the meat registers about 120-125 degrees F. for rare, 125-130 for medium rare and 130-135 for medium.
  3. Take it off the heat a few degrees before the desired temperature because it will continue to cook slightly as it rests.
  4. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice it thinly, against the grain, on the diagonal.
  5. Serve with the chimichurri sauce.
  6. FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:
  7. Mix all the ingredients together and stir, then drizzle over the cooked meat.
  8. FOR THE POTATO SALAD:
  9. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and let cool to room temperature.
  10. Peel if desired, or leave skin on.
  11. Mix the dressing ingredients together with a fork or whisk, except for the chive flowers and the balsamic pearls.
  12. Toss the potatoes with the dressing.
  13. Place the salad in a serving bowl, and scatter the chive flowers and balsamic pearls on top.
 

 

Sausage, Potato and Cheese Savory Tart

A few weeks ago, my friend Lilli dropped off a piece of this savory tart in a “quarantine package” that also contained some of her biscotti — a recipe I posted more than a decade ago in the early days of my blog. It’s my favorite biscotti recipe of all time. Lilli hails from Salerno and is one of the best home cooks I know. Anytime she makes something, it’s always a hit, including this delicious tart. I made it myself over the weekend and my husband and I loved it. I can’t wait to make it for my Italian chit-chat group, when we can once again meet face-to-face for a “chiacchierata.”

The tart is easy to make, especially if you use a packaged pastry as I did. I chose to use puff pastry, but a regular pie pastry would also work just fine. Start by boiling a couple of large potatoes. Peel them, mash them with a fork and add some parmesan cheese and a beaten egg.

Remove the skin from some Italian sausage and fry, then drain of any residual oil.

Crumble the sausage into the unbaked shell. You could choose a round tin, or pie plate if you prefer.

Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Then take the potato mixture and using two teaspoons, place dollops on top of the mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, on the bottom rack of your oven, then turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Slice and serve with a salad for a complete meal. Or cut into smaller slices and serve as an appetizer.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Sausage, Potato and Cheese Savory Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (or pie pastry)
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups parmesan cheese
  • ¾ lb. - 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Line a standard tart pan or pie tin with the pastry.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator while making the rest of the recipe.
  3. Boil the potatoes until tender and peel. Cut into chunks and place in a bowl, then mash with a fork. Beat the egg and when the potatoes have cooled a bit, add the beaten egg and the parmesan.
  4. Remove the casing from the sausage and break into pieces and fry in a bit of olive oil, cooking thoroughly.
  5. Drain the cooked sausage.
  6. Crumble the sausage into the pastry shell, then cover with the mozzzarella cheese.,
  7. Using two spoons, place dollops of the potato mixture over the sausage and cheese until the whole pan is covered.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then place until the broiler for a couple of minutes until nicely browned.
  9. Be careful not to stray and check on the broiler in a couple of minutes or you may burn the top of the tart.
 

Eggplant and Potato Crostata

My friend Lilli made this beautiful concoction recently, when the Italian chit-chat group convened at my house a few weeks ago. We generally serve both savory and sweet things at our weekly gatherings, and Lilli helped me by preparing this delicious eggplant and potato crostata. Lilli, who hails from Salerno, is one of my dearest friends, and a sensational cook. This recipe however, is from Giallo Zafferano, an Italian site that features so many wonderful recipes, but they’re all in Italian. I’ve translated the amounts from metric, for those of you in the U.S.  It would make a great appetizer if you’re having company, or even a main course, with a salad on the side. I hope you try it.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and to follow my trip through some beautiful European spots.)

Eggplant and Potato Crostata
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • one pastry shell, ready made or homemade
  • 1½ cups (400 grams)potatoes
  • 1¾ cups (350 grams) eggplant
  • 1 cup (100 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (200 grams) Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper,
  • one egg yolk (for brushing on top)
Instructions
  1. Slice the eggplants (not too thinly), and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Let them rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse and dry the eggplants with paper towels, then cut in half.
  4. Fry the eggplant in oil, draining well on paper towels.
  5. Wash the potatoes well, and boil them for about 20 minutes, with their skins on.
  6. Test for doneness, and when they can be easily pierced with a fork, remove from the water and let them cool, then peel them.
  7. Chop the potatoes roughly.
  8. Cut the mozzarella into small pieces.
  9. Mix the eggs in a bowl with the salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.
  10. To the eggs add the potatoes, the mozzarella and the eggplant.
  11. Line a tart pan with the pastry, letting some hang over the edge.
  12. Fill the tart pan evenly with the eggplant and potato filling.
  13. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling and brush with beaten egg yolk.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  15. Serve hot or at room temperature.
 

Potato Latkes

It’s a conspiracy. I’ll never get rid of those extra pounds from the holiday. Cookies, cakes, ice creams, chocolates, rich roasts, luscious cheeses and fish feasts were all part of our Christmas holiday eating.
Newsflash: the holidays were extended this year. Hanukkah was moved to January.

Well, not really, but we were invited to a post-Hanukkah party by friends who normally host this gathering in December. The hostess made these addictive latkes as appetizers, which we devoured — prosecco in hand. She also prepared an intensely flavorful brisket as the main course, while the guests filled out the menu with side dishes of eggplant rollatini, roasted artichoke hearts, spinach with pine nuts and raisins, fennel gratinee and an avocado and pomegranate salad. Not full yet? Let’s hope not, because dessert included an apple galette, pound cake, rugelach, fresh fruit salad and a buche de noel.

It’s not really a conspiracy. It’s my good fortune to be included in the festivities by these gracious hosts and to share a fabulous meal with some of the nicest people and the best cooks I know.

Still, now you know why I left early for the gym this morning.

Here is my friend’s recipe for the latkes, inspired by a recipe from Gloria Kausergreen’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook.

Potato Latkes

makes about 20 latkes

3 large russet potatoes, about 2.5 pounds
1 lemon
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp. salt
2 T. flour
1 large onion
sour cream
caviar (my friend used Romanoff black caviar)
vegetable oil for frying

Peel potatoes and cut in halves or thirds. Soak in a bowl of cold water mixed with a little lemon juice to keep the potatoes from discoloring.
Peel onion, cut into chunks and add to the bowl with the potatoes.
In another large bowl, beat the eggs, flour and salt with a whisk, making sure the flour is fully blended with the egg.
Using the medium grating disk of a food processor, remove some of the potatoes from the bowl and begin to grate. Do not use the fine grating disk. The potatoes should look like strings when they come out of the food processor, so that when they are fried the latkes will look lacy.
Next take some onion and grate using the same disk. Alternate grating potatoes and onions, repeating the process in several batches.
After each batch is grated, put the potatoes and onions into a colander to drain off some of the liquid.
After all the potatoes and onions are grated and in the colander, take your hand and squeeze out handfuls, draining off the liquid.
Place the drained potatoes and onions into the bowl with the egg and flour mixture. Stir with your hands until the potatoes and onions are well integrated with the egg mixture.
Using your hands, pick up a fistful of the potato and onion mixture and squeeze forcefully into a ball, draining out as much liquid as possible.
In a heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil to high, then lower the heat to medium or medium high, as needed.
Press the latkes into a flat, oval shape and fry in the oil, pressing down with a spatula to flatten even further.
Turn over and fry on the other side, until the latkes are crispy all over. Add more oil as needed. Drain on paper towels, and serve with a dollop of sour cream and black caviar.

Gatto’ di Patate

So many of my friends are good cooks, including Lilli, who originally hails from Salerno, about 30 miles south of Naples. She made the potato cake in the photo and gave it to me shortly before dinner tonight.
Boy, was I lucky to be in the right place at the right time. It’s the ultimate comfort food all’Italiana. Think of mashed potatoes all dressed up and ready to show off. It’s also a terrific party food too, to make ahead and bake later.
There are as many variations of this recipe as there are varieties of pizza. Some recipes call for adding bits of salami, some for ham, and some for both — but you can omit the meat entirely if you like. You can also add provolone cheese in addition to the mozzarella, or pecorino instead of parmigiana. Like so many Italian cooks I know, Lilli keeps a lot recipes in her head, including this one. She did, however, spell out the basic ingredients, and I have approximated proportions in the recipe that follows.
The gatto’ (accent on the second syllable) is a traditional Neapolitan recipe that takes its name from the French “gateau” or cake. If you make the mistake of accenting the first syllable, you’ve got yourself a potato cat, not a potato cake.

serves 6
2 lb. potatoes
1 egg
4 T. butter, plus more to grease the dish
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
1 cup cooked ham or salami, diced
2 T. Italian parsley, chopped
pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup milk, or more as needed to keep the mixture from getting too hard
salt and pepper

bread crumbs
2 T. butter

Boil potatoes until tender and drain. Place the 4 T. butter into a bowl. Peel the potatoes and pass through a “ricer” or mash by hand directly into the bowl over the butter, so that the hot potatoes melt the butter. Cool for five minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs and the 2 T. butter. Mix it all together until blended. Grease the bottom of a pie plate or other oven-proof dish with butter and smooth the mixture into the container. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and gently press down with a fork. Dab with bits of butter. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes.