Thanksgiving is right around the corner (have you voted in the Thanksgiving poll yet? Go ahead and do so now… I’ll wait. :) ), which means a LOT of turkey and a LOT of other leftovers. As much as I adore Thanksgiving fare, the endless leftovers can get a bit repetitive, so I try to make sure I have as little poultry as possible before the big day. This way I’m very much into all that turkey I’ll be ingesting for the next month or so. Of course, there are many creative things one can do with Thanksgiving leftovers, like my mom’s Arroz con Pavo (which will get a much better photo this year), and I’m going to be covering my After Thanksgiving Colombian Tapas Party next Sunday, November 29th, so you can read about me really getting my cook on. But there are still 6 days left of regular eating and I wanted to make sure I could have something completely different from the standard autumn, harvest-time cuisine. Some grilled ahi tuna drizzled generously with chimichurri sauce seemed like a good place to start.
I’m sure many of you have heard of and tried chimichurri, but for those of you who haven’t, my advice to you is: DO IT! A traditional Argentinean marinade & sauce, chimichurri is a simple but flavorful combination of parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar and olive oil. It’s commonly served on top of Argentina’s famed steak but is versatile enough to be drizzled atop of almost any food. Similar to Colombian pique (a “sauce” made of chopped scallions, vinegar, cilantro and plenty of cumin, which will feature prominently in next weekend’s 24, 24, 24 post), the tangy acidity of fresh herbs in vinegar will enhance the flavor of many of your favorite savory dishes. Personally, I like to add cilantro to my chimichurri, as it gives the sauce a different coolness than if using parsley alone. Thanks to my coworkers helping me out these past couple of weeks, I was able to do some light food shopping recently and scored some great avocados for just $0.89/each (!!!), and I decided to add some chopped avocado into the chimichurri to soften the flavors with its creamy texture.
My favorite part about this recipe is that looks like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen, when in reality it only takes at most 25 minutes to prepare. It’s healthy and light, a nice way to prepare for the huge Thanksgiving feasts many of us will be partaking of next week. Don’t have access to ahi tuna (or perhaps you don’t eat fish)? No worries; you can use the chimichurri on some grilled chicken breasts or some well-seasoned flank steak. Let’s check out the recipe.
Pan-grilled Ahi Tuna with Avocado Chimichurri (serves 2; total cost per serving: $3.50)
2 6 oz. ahi tuna steaks
1 large avocado
1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 c chopped cilantro
6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 t dry oregano (if you have access to fresh oregano, you should definitely use it!)
1/4 t salt
1 t crushed red chilies
1/4 c red or white wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Prepare the chimichurri by combining the parsley, cilantro, chopped garlic, oregano, salt , red chilies and vinegar in a food processor (a hand blender will also work) and puree at medium high speed until slightly smooth. Lower the speed and add the olive oil in a slow drizzle and mix until completely combined and smooth. Finely chop the avocado into ¼” pieces and add to about 1 cup of the prepared chimichurri (you may have some left over). Set aside.
Preheat your grill pan (or broiler, if you prefer). Lightly dust each side of the tuna steaks with salt & pepper. Grill the tuna for about 4 minutes before turning, then for about another 2-3 minutes, or until the tuna is no longer pink on the inside (though, a seared tuna with this sauce is also quite good, so give that a try if you like). Serve with a generous amount of the avocado chimichurri and some white rice, garnish with extra red chilies if you like, and enjoy!