We had some good friends over for dinner last night and in my attempt to come up with the perfect summer menu, I decided to marinate and grill some tri tip steak. Normally I'm not a big tri tip fan, but I've had it several times this summer and it's been really good - tender, moist meat with lots of flavor. Last week, I happened to see it at Costco so I bought a massive 5 pound package. You know the size I'm talking about - it's so large you think it will last a year. It stared at me all week in the refrigerator as I decided what to do with it.
As part of my summer menu I decided to marinate and grill the tri tip. I just can't throw a piece of meat on the grill without some kind of seasoning or marinade. It's just not in my DNA. I picture it as having a blank canvas and we have the freedom to create a masterpiece of flavor. I'm being a bit melodramatic but really - you can create your own masterpiece. Give it a try sometime. I decided to marinate the tri tip with a simple garlic and herb mixture and then serve it with a Chimichurri sauce on the side. Talk about flavor - it really was perfect for a summer dinner with friends.
I think of tri tip as not quite a steak and not quite a roast. It's in the middle. The cut is from the bottom of the sirloin and it use to always be ground into hamburger. It's gained popularity as small butchers have morphed into large packers. The meat is relatively low in fat so it's best not to cook more than medium unless you really marinate it well or serve it with a tasty sauce, say like a Chimichurri sauce.
I've been dying to make a Chimichurri sauce all summer. I love cooking with herbs so the thought of having them all chopped up together with olive oil and garlic sounded like a match made in heaven. Traditionally, Chimichurri is served with a flank steak and I'm sure there are quite a few variations on the sauce. Your typical ingredients are garlic, herbs, vinegar and olive oil. My recipe is from Emeril. Nothing I've made of his has let me down yet.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Combine all the ingredients, except the red pepper flakes, into a food processor and pulse until combined but not pureed. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Herb Marinated Tri Tip
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons vinegar (any kind)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 to 1 1/2 lbs tri tip
Mix all ingredients and pour over meat. Marinate as long as possible - the longer the better. Let meat stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Grill for 30-45 minutes,depending on your degree of likeness, on medium heat. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve Chimichurri sauce on the side. Serves 4.