Saturday, September 18, 2010

Begin with the classic: tira de asada

My mom is without a doubt the biggest influence in my cooking.  Some of my earliest memories are sitting at the kitchen counter slicing and dicing items for dinner.  But I would be remiss to not also credit my first post-college boyfriend.  A born and bred Argentine, not only did he force me to eat things I would have never previously let pass my lips (too many to list, but included are squash of any variety, onions, and "alternative" cuts of beef), but he also pushed me to cook well, cook often, and cook adventurously.

There is not a meal more indicative of my style than tira de asada.  The cut is hard to explain to butchers outside of Argentina.  [It may be easy in other parts of South America, but I do not want to speak outside of my experience here.]  It translates loosely to short ribs, but the cut is not the United States version of a short rib.  The best I have done with butchers is to describe it as a Korean short rib but with the bone left as 1.5 to 2" instead of very thin, ~0.25 - 0.5", like Korean short ribs.  Flanken-style ribs is apparently another useful term, but I think it basically equates to the Korean short rib cut, so maybe not that useful?

Okay, let's get to the recipe.  

1 lb Argentine short ribs
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


2 Tbsp fresh italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

For the ribs, coat generously on both sides with salt and pepper on both sides and let sit about an hour (or more).  Grill 10 - 15 minutes on each side.  

For the chimicurri, combine ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Serve as condiment to ribs.

I realize the above is a vague description of how to prepare tira de asada.  I don't have a real recipe for you.  The beef is much better if prepared on an outdoor coal or wood grill.  Heat up the coals (or wood), then move to one half of the grill.  Cook the ribs on the other half.  It was raining outside the day I made these, so I stayed inside and cooked them on a cast iron grill on my stove.  You want the grill to be hot enough to make grill marks, but cool enough that you don't scorch the outside while the inside cooks.

Norton is a good Argentine winery, though a Malbec would have suited this meal better.  

Bon appetit.


  1. You know that if I ever go to the dark side (the meat eating side, that is) I am coming straight to you! Your writing is amazing, but what else would I expect from a Princeton grad? You need to start a Twitter for your blogging alter ego!

    I miss you!


  2. I just read through all your posts and am astonished that a) I had no idea you were such a chef and b) that M got you to eat ONIONS. That is like J getting me to eat tomatoes. (Which will never happen. Ever.)