My brother Thijs is an extremely big fan of chimichurri, so for his birthday I prepared an Argentinian asado; a term for the technique and social event of having a barbecue. Admittedly, the meat-heavy focus of asados scared me a bit. E.g., see this picture of an asado in Patagonia:
Wikimedia Commons User:Mauryfrapi (CC BY-SA 3.0)
That looks pretty dystopian to me. Anyway, I really do appreciate the fact that people see so much value in gathering, cooking, and eating together.
There is some sense of structure to an asado. See Wikipedia. For this evening, I distilled it down to the following:
- Meats and mains
- Beef steak
- Vegetables; aubergine, zucchini
- Dulce de leche with icecream
This ubiquitous condiment is what sparked the whole meal and I basically served it with everything except the dessert.
Finely cut lots of fresh parsley. Mix with plenty of glucks of good olive oil. Mince garlic, salt slightly and press with the blade of your knife to break it down into a rough paste. Then mix it into the chimichurri.
This forms the base of our condiment. Add extra's according to personal preference. Some good ones are oregano, chili flakes, and black pepper.
Choripán and provoleta
Argentinian chorizo sausages on crispy bread, topped with chimichurri. There is some provolone-esque grilled cheese on the side. In my father's kitchen, Tilburg, 2022.
Choripán is a sandwich with grilled chorizo sausage, cut in half lengthwise and served on crispy white bread. Quick to prepare, it's a good appetizer, but also makes a great streetside-vendor snack.
Provoleta is a type of provolone cheese that is grilled while holding up its shape. I couldn't find provoleta, so I sought after provolone (the Italian cheese). Neither could I find the Italian cheese, though, so I had to resort to another Italian cheese that the two shop keepers assured me was similar. Sadly, it did not hold up all that well during grilling. Luckily the cheese still tasted great.
Grilled beef steaks topped with chimichurri, resting. In my father's kitchen, Tilburg, 2022.
While I generally prefer to minimize consumption of animal products, I couldn't not eat beef on an asado. I did notice that my meat-preparation skills have become rusty, though. I overcooked the beef way too far. My father did not really mind, but it definitely hurt the juiciness I'd be after if I cared about eating good meat.
Dulce de leche
Dulce de leche over some decadent icecream. In my father's kitchen, Tilburg, 2022.
"Sweet made of milk". Dulce de leche is a sweet sauce made by slowly heating sugar and milk. I reduced the milk by more than eighty percent over a period of three hours, roughly. It then becomes very rich and sweet (caramelization and Maillard), and works incredibly well to top other sweet foods. We swirled in some coconut cream for extra decadence.