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Grilled Steak With Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce

Season the steaks well with salt, pepper, fresh herbs and olive oil
Grilled steak with avocado-lemongrass sauce
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune

This avocado-lemongrass sauce here could become your summer go-to condiment. Simply blend fresh herbs, chiles and avocado with roasted tomatillos and olive oil into a light fluffy sauce. Not quite a hot sauce, not quite a salsa, this condiment pairs well with grilled meat, seafood and veggies, but also tastes great dolloped on baked potatoes, steamed asparagus and as a dunk for crunchy raw vegetables or pita chips.

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
2 h
1 h 40 m
(prepare time)
20 m
(cook time)
4
Servings

Notes

One-inch thick, bone-in lamb chops or small boneless skinless chicken breasts work well here too. Adjust timing of the cooking after you flip the meat. Vary the herbs as desired.

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • 1 beef flank steak, or 4 small top sirloin steaks (1 inch thick) or 4 small boneless New York strip steaks, total weight 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 Cup chives, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons very finely sliced fresh mint or basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Spicy avocado-lemongrass sauce, see recipe
  • Tomato-lemon relish, see recipe

For the Spicy avocado-lemongrass sauce:

  • 1 Pound tomatillos, husked
  • 1 to 2 large jalapenos, stemmed
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Cup tender cilantro leaves and sprigs
  • 1/4 Cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons refrigerated lemongrass puree
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large ripe avocado, halved, pitted

Tomato-lemon relish:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons bottled sun-dried tomato spread
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 12 Ounces grape, cherry or other small tomatoes, preferably a variety of colors, quartered, about 3 cups total
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup finely diced crunchy vegetable, such as cucumber, jicama or celery
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions

For the steak:

Step 1: Put steak(s) in a shallow dish. Sprinkle one side with half of the salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil. Flip and sprinkle the remaining over the steak. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Step 2: Prepare avocado-lemongrass sauce and tomato-lemon relish, if using.

Step 3: Let steak stand at room temperature about 30 minutes while you heat the grill.

Step 4: Prepare a charcoal grill, and let coals burn until they are covered with gray ash. Arrange the coals in a single layer in the center of the grill. Put the grill grate in place, and heat it with the grill covered. Or, heat a gas grill until hot; reduce heat to medium-hot.

Step 5: Position steak(s) directly over the heat source. Cover the grill and cook, without opening the grill for 4 minutes. Turn the steak(s) over, they should be nicely grill-marked. Cover the grill, and continue cooking until the steak yields to medium pressure for medium-rare, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Step 6: Transfer steaks to a cutting board to rest. For flank steak, use a sharp slicing knife or an electric knife to slice steak across the grain into very thin slices. Sprinkle steak(s) lightly with salt.

Step 7: To serve, put a smear of the avocado-lemongrass sauce on each plate. Top with slices of flank steak (or the whole steak if this applies). Spoon some of the tomato-lemon relish on the side of the steak. Serve hot with sharp knives.

For the Spicy avocado-lemongrass sauce:

Step 1: Heat broiler to high.

Step 2: Put 1 pound husked tomatillos and 2 stemmed jalapenos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, 6 inches from heat source, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip tomatillos and turn jalapenos over. Broil until softened and nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate with the juices until cold or up to several days.

Step 3: Put the chilled tomatillos and their juices, the jalapenos, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup mint, 1-2 tablespoons lemongrass puree and 1 teaspoon salt into a blender. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, up to a day. (I leave it in the blender jar.)

Step 4: Scoop the avocado flesh into the tomatillo mixture. Blend smooth. Taste and adjust salt. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce up to a few days.

Tomato-lemon relish:

Step 1: Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons tomato spread, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes in a bowl until smooth.

Step 2: Stir in 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, crunchy vegetable of your choice and 2-3 tablespoons chives.

Step 3: Let stand at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.