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South American Inspired BBQ

This South American- inspired menu is perfect for a casual dinner outside as the weather starts to warm up.  The key to the simple salad is finding the freshest, ripest vegetables possible – you should be able to smell the tomatoes before you cut into them!  Try mixing up the colors for visual interest – yellow tomatoes, orange peppers, whatever looks good to you.  An Argentine Malbec is an obvious choice for a wine pairing, though this menu would also be great with a plummy Zinfandel.


2-3 large ripe tomatoes

1 sweet pepper

1 large English cucumber, peeled

¼ sweet onion, minced

1 lime, juiced

2 T. olive oil

1 t. sea salt

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

  • Chop tomato, pepper and cucumber into bite-size pieces, place into a bowl.
  • Gently toss in the minced sweet onion, lime juice, olive oil and sea salt
  • Let sit for 30-45 min.  Add freshly chopped cilantro just before serving.


Steak with Chimichurri

1 flat iron steak (about 2 lbs.)

1 cup fresh cilantro

¼ cup fresh parsley

3 cloves garlic

1 t crushed dried red pepper

½ c. olive oil

1/3 c. white wine vinegar

Sea salt

Black pepper

  • Generously season the steak with sea salt & and freshly ground black pepper, set aside at room temperature.
  • In a food processor or blender, puree cilantro, parsley, garlic, dried red pepper, olive oil and vinegar until smooth.  Stir in ½ T. sea salt and set aside.
  • Turn on your grill and get it nice and hot while you make your arepas.
  • (Detail to finish steak below)


White Cheddar Arepas

2 cups masa arepa (pre-cooked white corn meal – can be found at any Latin grocer)

2 ½ cups water

1 t. salt

Olive oil, for frying

1 cup sharp white cheddar, shredded

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl, mix water and salt, and slowly stir in the masa arepa.  Knead dough until smooth.
  • Heat ½ inch of oil in a large skillet on the
  • Using your hands, form dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter, then flatten to about ½ inch thick.  (You’re basically just making little dough patties)
  • Add the dough to the skillet and fry until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from skillet and dry on a paper towel.
  • When cool enough to touch, split in half (like you would an English muffin) and fill with shredded white cheddar.  Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Now, it’s time to finish your steak on the grill that should be nice and hot.   Brush steak lightly with olive oil and place on the grill, about 4-5 minutes each side for medium rare.  Remember to use tongs, not a form, when flipping your steak. Remove from grill and let sit.

While your steak is resting (about 10 minutes), place the arepas on the cookie sheet into the oven to get the cheese nice and melted.  Remove from over just before serving.

Slice steak against the grain and plate it topped with a bit of your chimichurri sauce, serving the rest in a bowl on the side.

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Posted on: April 26, 2014