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Avocado-Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Mashed Cauliflower

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Red meat isn’t always seen as a healthy meal choice. A juicy and delicious steak is, many times, seen as a heavy, hard to digest, fatty kind of dinner. As much as I love steak, I do find myself avoiding from “Monday-through-Friday”, which gives it the status of a weekend indulgence.

Growing up in the Southern part of Brazil, where meat is the go-to protein, I used to not think of meat that way at all. We had red meat on our table almost every day. It wasn’t a crazy, gigantic 16 ounces portion of rib-eye; at a daily basis, smaller portions of meat were served as the main course at every table. Forget about those standardized, all-you-can-eat, Brazilian steak houses. Those are, indeed, a weekend indulgence. On week days, steak is always portioned right.

November is celebrated as the “Eat Smart Month” by the American Heart Association, and I was thrilled to be invited to be part of it. Their big fundraising event was sponsored by NBC Channel 8 in Tampa, and my job was to show viewers how to prepare a colorful and healthy meal. They asked me if I could look at their recipe file to possibly find something we could develop together. Since the cause is one worth embracing, I decided to be open minded.

As go I through the file, I must confess that I was surprised to have found so many mouthwatering options. All these recipes are dissected by a group of scientists that provide balanced and delicious ideas for those who want to be heart healthy. 

Although, my biggest surprise was to find something that inspired me to create a twist to one of my own! In one of their steak recipes, they combined chimichurri sauce (a South American classic) and avocado. It left me like “Why I haven’t thought of this before?”. 

So, for the cooking segment on WFLA Channel 8 I demonstrated how to make an “Avocado-Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Cauliflower Mash”. For that recipe, I combined my own version of Chimichurri to nutritious and creamy avocado as a topping for a lean, yet super succulent cut of pan-seared skirt steak. To add a comfort bite to the plate, I used the American Heart Association recipe for Cauliflower Mash (recipe here) – a lighter substitute to mashed potato (but a tasty one!). 

Portion control and smart choices are the key to be able to enjoy delicious food every day. Having a juicy piece of steak, delicious sauces, and comforting sides shouldn’t be a taken-away pleasure. Watch the quantities and add color. And always add a Brazilian twist, because they just make everything better! Enjoy!!

Avocado-Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 4 to 6

*Step 1 - Prepare the Chimichurri

Ingredients for Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch salt and pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl, add the parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, and aged balsamic vinegar. Mix until everything is incorporated.

Slowly add the olive oil, constantly whisking. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

PS: this recipe yields 1 ½ cups, that can be stored in the fridge inside an air-tight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

*Step 2 – Prepare the Steak

Ingredients for Steak:

  • 1¼ pound skirt steak
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 small avocado (halved, pitted, diced)
  • Juice of ½ lime

On a working surface, pat dry the meat with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a large skillet (preferably a cast-iron skillet) on high-heat. Add the olive oil or the canola oil. Once it starts smoking, add the steak. Cook, without disturbing the meat, for 3 to 4 minutes on one side, until charred. Flip using tongs, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix avocado and lime juice. Roughly smash with a fork. Set aside.

Thinly cut steak diagonally against the grain. Divide the slices into 4 to 6 serving plates. Top meat with 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of avocado. Finish by drizzling 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of chimichurri over avocado. Serve immediately, with a side of mashed cauliflower.




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