Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

With all the summer fun I’ve been having this year I’ve missed a few more weeks of posting here than I’d like.  After two years of saving up my vacation days, I told myself to say yes to any opportunities that came my way and to follow through on promises to visit friends that I’ve been putting off for years.  A partially off-the-grid trip to the mountains in Lassen County, followed by a girls getaway weekend to Pismo Beach has left me feeling relaxed and fulfilled in life, but definitely left this blog by the wayside.  So, before I jet off to New York to visit one of my oldest friends tomorrow I leave you with these grilled ribeye lettuce wraps with salsa criolla.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe is a sort of California spin on Argentinian favorites and is, in my humble opinion, a perfect balance between the two.  In college I got to spend a month in Bueno Aires on a summer study abroad and ate and drank my weight in choripanes, steaks, french fries, and red wine.  Typical Argentine food is definitely not light or delicate in any way, but boy is it good if you like meat and potatoes.  The french fries there are beyond comparison by the way, but that’s a topic for another post (psst..I think the secret is sunflower oil).

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe takes a ribeye, a fattier cut you might save for a special occasion, and not only lightens it up, but stretches it further so you don’t feel so guilty dropping $15 on a good quality one.  Grilling a good steak is the way to go and most of the restaurants in Buenos Aires cook their beef over wood charcoal, providing intense heat and char.  We’ll stick with our normal home grills for this one…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

These lettuce wraps have two sauces that you can mix and match.  The first is salsa criolla, Argentina’s answer to pico de gallo, made with tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar, and oregano.  We let it marinate so that the tomatoes soften and release their juices and all the flavors meld.  The second is a california version of chimichurri.  Any porteño would be appalled that I’ve added cilantro, but it brightens the flavor and is a damn good addition if I do say so myself.  If you haven’t noticed, I love cilantro and add it to nearly everything, but if you’re a cilantro hater just use all parsley or a combination of parsley and fresh oregano.  Bonus points if you pick up a fresh baguette to dip in the chimichurri.  It’s highly addictive and you’re going to want to put it on everything, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dog agrees…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ribeye steak
  2. Lettuce, washed and leaves separated
  3. Flake salt to garnish (optional)
Marinade
  1. ¼ c. soy sauce
  2. 3 T. olive oil
  3. Juice of ½ large lemon
  4. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 2 t. red pepper flakes
  6. 2 t. dried oregano
  7. 2 t. black pepper
  8. Splash of red wine (optional)
Chimichurri
  1. ½ c. parsley, stems removed and chopped
  2. ½ c. cilantro, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  4. ⅓ c. red wine vinegar
  5. ½ c. olive oil
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. Kosher salt & pepper
Salsa Criolla
  1. 2 tomatoes
  2. 1 shallot
  3. 3 T. chimichurri
  4. 1 T. red wine vinegar
  5. ¼ t. dried oregano
  6. Kosher salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by making the marinade. Add the soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Using a microplane, grate the garlic into the liquids. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and black pepper. Add the steak to a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over, smooshing to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature while you’re making the sauces, or refrigerate up to a day.
  2. To make the chimichurri add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar and olive oil to a blender or food processor. Blend until herbs and garlic are minced, about 30 seconds. If you're having any trouble blending add more olive oil or vinegar at your discretion. Remove to a bowl, add the red pepper flakes and season liberally with salt & pepper.
  3. To make the salsa dice the tomatoes, mince the shallot, and add both to a bowl. Season with chimichurri, vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have released some of their juices.
  4. When you’re ready to make the steak, heat your grill to high (or light a chimney of charcoal briquettes). Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place the steaks on the grill and cook to medium rare - about 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temp reaches 130°. Of course, if you like your steak more done, feel free to cook it to your liking!
  5. Remove steaks to a cutting board and let rest ~10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with lettuce and both sauces.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Grilled Zucchini Crostini

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Summer is here and with it comes a bounty of produce.  Although my zucchini plant is just at the blossoming stage now, I know that one day i’ll blink my eyes and suddenly i’ll have more squash than I know what to do with.  So, before we get to that desperate stage when we have zucchini coming out our ears, I present to you this simple and delicious grilled zucchini crostini.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

These crostini are are great as a party snack and are particularly delicious with salty olives and a glass of wine.  We start by slicing the zucchini into ribbons and grilling them to get a little char and smokiness.  This can be done on the grill if you already have it lit, but I cooked mine in a grill pan on the stove and they were great.  Once the zucchini are cooked we briefly marinate them in balsamic vinegar to add sweetness and tang.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Picking our bread is important here since not only is it the base of our entire dish, but since there are so few ingredients we want to pick each one with care.  Any good bread that you like will work, but try to pick one that will be nicely crunchy once toasted, so stay away from whole wheat and sandwich loaves.  A country style loaf or focaccia would be particularly nice here.  I used a rosemary focaccia for an extra layer of flavor.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Once we have our zucchini cooked and bread toasted, we’re ready to assemble the crostini.  Drizzle the toasts with a good quality olive oil — or may I suggest the oil from garlic confit?  Then layer some torn fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add a few zucchini ribbons on top and season with another small pinch of salt and some red pepper flakes.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Zucchini and fresh mozzarella have delicate flavors, so if you want you can add a leaf of fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for an extra pop.  You should also feel free use any cheese or other toppings you like.  I think goat cheese and prosciutto would be a welcome spin here.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Grilled Zucchini Crostini
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchini (about 1 lb)
  2. Olive oil
  3. 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. 4 oz fresh mozzarella
  8. 1 clove garlic
  9. Good bread such as country loaf or focaccia
Instructions
  1. Slice zucchini lengthwise into strips about ½ cm thick. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or grill over high heat and sear zucchini until it slightly chars on the edges, flipping halfway through. Remove to a plate or bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Slice bread into appetizer sized portions (about 2” x 2”). Toast until just golden brown on the edges and immediately rub with the cut side of a halved garlic clove.
  3. Drizzle the toasts with olive oil, layer some hand torn mozzarella, season with a sprinkle of salt, then top with 2 folded over zucchini strips. Season with another sprinkle of salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to get creative with the toppings - different cheeses, charcuterie, fresh herbs and extra vinegar would be all be great here.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Sambal Chicken Skewers

Sambal Chicken Skewers | Cravings & Crumbs

These sambal chicken skewers are somewhat of a triple threat – spicy, sweet, and satisfying.  Yeah, I know I’m corny, but it’s true!  These skewers were originally published in Bon Appétit in 2013 and they’ve become a favorite of tons of people for good reason!  The marinade is salty, spicy, sweet, and complex, and better yet it takes less than 10 minutes to put together.  That’s what I love about cooking asian cuisines – many of them rely on condiments that are often fermented or a mix of many different ingredients so that you can get deep, layered flavors with nearly instant gratification.

Sambal Chicken Skewers | Cravings & Crumbs

It was sunny here in the Bay Area last weekend with temperatures in the 70s, which had me itching to grill something.  I’ve been spending a lot of time in my parent’s backyard recently, reading in a lounge chair that sits near our barbeque, and the grill has been calling out to me, begging me to come up with something good.  

Sambal Chicken Skewers | Cravings & Crumbs

Obviously, I set my sights on these babies, and they were just as good as I imagined.  These skewers have a classic thai flavor profile – fish sauce, garlic and chiles, with brown sugar to add to the caramelization and acids to help with tenderization.  Many commenters noted that the recipe as originally written is spicy and they weren’t kidding.  Eaten without extra basting these probably wouldn’t be too hot, but I wanted a good layer of the sauce basted on as I grilled them and by the end of skewer #1 my mouth was on fire!  I’ve adjusted the recipe to make the sriracha optional.  You’ve been warned…

Sambal Chicken Skewers | Cravings & CrumbsI chose to serve these with rice, cilantro, thai basil, and lettuce to create a lettuce wrap situation, but these would be equally great just in a rice bowl with some sort of pickled vegetable to brighten everything up.  I also grilled some pineapple spears alongside the skewers as a sweet and juicy accompaniment to tame the fiery chicken.  If you’ve never tried grilled pineapple before please give it a go!  It’s surprisingly delicious!

Sambal Chicken Skewers | Cravings & Crumbs

Sambal Chicken Skewers
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Chicken
  1. ½ c. brown sugar
  2. ¼ c. unseasoned rice vinegar
  3. ¼ c. lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  4. ⅓ c. sambal oelek
  5. 2 ½ T. fish sauce
  6. 2 t. finely grated ginger
  7. 2 large garlic cloves, grated, pressed, or minced
  8. 2 T. sriracha (optional)
  9. 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  10. 1-2 bunches green/spring onions
Optional Accompaniments
  1. Rice
  2. Herbs such as thai basil and cilantro
  3. 1 pineapple, rind removed and cut into spears
  4. Small head of lettuce such as bibb, gem, or romaine
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients (brown sugar to sriracha) in a bowl to create marinade. Chop chicken into pieces about 1” in size and mix with marinade. Refrigerate for 30 mins or overnight.
  2. At least 2 hours before you’re ready to grill soak wooden skewers in water to prevent burning as you cook the skewers.
  3. To assemble skewers, first chop green onions into 1” chunks, white parts only. Then thread chicken pieces onto the skewer, alternating with onion pieces. Set aside in a tray, covered in saran wrap, until ready to grill.
  4. Add leftover marinade to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half.
  5. Cook skewers and pineapple over medium-high heat on the grill for about 10 minutes, turning and basting the chicken with the reserved sauce throughout.
Notes
  1. If you’re worried about using the leftover marinade as a sauce, just reserve half the marinade in the beginning, or make double.
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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