Spring weather means cooking for crowds. There’s ritual in the changing of the seasons. We all collectively clean of our grills, put our coats away, and slide straight back into the many happy aspects of summer entertaining. Still, there’s something missing in early spring: local ingredients. The reality is that we don’t have a lot of food growing yet in the Hudson Valley. You might get a July-feeling day in late April, and even a heat wave in May, but watermelon won’t hit our local markets — or your own garden — for months.
So we set out to write a recipe that will both feed a warm(er) weather crowd and make good use of what’s actually available growing outside in early May. We came up with this grilled sirloin top with chimichurri. Sirloin top is the most economical high-end steak we sell. We age it the way we age ribeye, strip, porterhouse, and tenderloin. This leaner cut has no fat cap, and it’s easy to slice and serve because it’s all protein. It’s perfect for parties as you can get a big piece to feed lots of people. Typically we cut our sirloin tops 1 to 2 pounds. If you want a bigger one, get in touch with your special order.
We love chimichurri because it’s delicious, but also because it’s flexible. In early spring, you can add extra flavor with arugula, turnip tops (as we call for here), and even chives or (sustainably-harvested) ramps. As the weather turns and more local food starts to grow, the sirloin top will remain a crowdpleaser. Just adjust your chimichurri to incorporate new seasonal greens and herbs.
1 1/2 cups olive oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro/parsley combination
1/3 cup chopped turnip greens
1/3 cup chopped arugula
1/2 small onion diced
Small red chilis (2 for starters, more for adventure)
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the olive oil and vinegar in a bowl together so that the flavors can meld. While they do, blend the chopped greens, onion, garlic, and chilis in a food processor, or use a mortar and pestle. In either case, you are going for a muddled texture, like a pesto. (If you prefer a chunkier version as we sometimes do, chop by hand.) Next, combine the mixture from the food processor with the olive oil and vinegar. Cover and let sit while you cook the steak. Add more olive oil if necessary.
GRILLING THE STEAK
Sirloin top is easy and versatile. It’s delicious done using our perfect steak method (sear on both sides in a cast iron skillet and finish it in the oven). It also takes well to a flame and this chimichurri sauce tastes best with a grilled steak.
Take one large sirloin top. (A two pound steak will feed four people. Order to meet your needs.) Pat it dry to remove excess liquid. More liquid equals more steam, which equals less char. You really want to char this. Rub with salt and pepper. Let your meat warm up as you get your grill as hot as you can (450 to 500 degrees); this will make searing and cook time easier and faster. After you sear on both sides, remove and cook over indirect heat until you reach your desired doneness. Don’t walk away from the grill. This doesn’t take many minutes.
We cook for doneness versus minutes per pound. To test for doneness, we like to use meat thermometers. We recommend 120 degrees F for a perfect medium-rare. Once done, wrap it in foil or just cover it, and let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
Slice the steak and place on a platter. You can either drizzle the slices with the chimichurri or serve the sauce on the side for individual spooning.