Table d’Hôte: Table Tango

Argentinian Valentine’s Day Menu


Spring Green Salad with Chorizo Bits and Manchego Cheese
Argentinian Chimichurri Streak
Roasted Potatoes with Spanish Pimento Olives
Guava and Queso Blanco Empanadas

Wine Recommendation: Altos Malbec, Argentina

The Cook’s Note:

Few things are more romantic as the Tango in Argentina, which serves as the inspiration for this Valentine’s Day menu. The centerpiece is a steak marinated in the classic Chimichurri and then topped with a mayonnaise of the same flavor profile, my spin on the horseradish condiment served on prime rib.

I served this steak on garlic toast at 2012 Hicksville FD BBQ competition and won first place in the beef category. Here it accompanies a number of dishes I created that are quick to make and require no special cooking skills. I hope they inspire you to experiment with the flavors and ingredients of Latin America.

While I would normally make this over a charcoal grill, this recipe has been modified to make in your home oven.

Mike, Buenos Diaz BBQ

Spring Green Salad with Chorizo Bits and Manchego Cheese
Chorizo and Manchego Cheese are classic Spanish ingredients and readily available in most supermarkets. I use the chorizo like one would use bacon bits to add a salty smoke accent, while Manchego compliments with is buttery texture and flavor.

1 Package Spring Salad Mix (or you favorite)
1 tbls White Balsamic Vinegar (substitute apple cider vinegar)
3 tbls Olive Oil (extra virgin)
½ Chorizo diced into ¼” bits
1 tsp capers
Manchego Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Over medium low heat, cook the diced chorizo to render the fat until the pieces are crunchy, set aside. Whisk the oil and vinegar dressing and toss with the salad Sprinkle capers and chorizo bits over the top with a few shavings of Manchego cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Chimichurri Marinade

1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (red pepper flakes are traditional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Chimichurri Mayonnaise

Same as above except use white wine vinegar instead of red, omit the olive oil and add the juice of ½ a lime. Mix with 1 cup of mayonnaise to desired consistency and flavor, and set aside.


Argentinean Chimichurri Steak

2 Prime aged sirloin steak
Chimichurri marinade
Chimichurri mayonnaise
Montreal steak seasoning (or salt and pepper)

Prepare the Chimichurri marinade and mayonnaise. Marinade the steak 1 to 4 hours in advance or overnight. Remove the steak from the marinade and lightly season with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Grill in your oven’s broiler or your barbecue for 4 minutes on each side (medium rare). Remove from grill and rest 10 minutes. Garnish with the Chimichurri mayonnaise using a squirt bottle or dollop with a teaspoon. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley about the plate as garnish.

Roasted Potatoes With Spanish Pimento Olives
Olives stuffed with pimento is added to potato salad by the Argentinians. Here I add them to roasted red potatoes.

4 Red Potatoes (about racquet ball size)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
3 tbl olive oil
2 tbl sliced Spanish olives stuffed with pimento
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into quarters and coat with olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a microwave safe small casserole dish. Microwave for 5 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 minute to brown the potatoes being careful not to burn. Add olives with pimentos, salt and pepper to taste, toss and serve.

Note: you can also roast in oven at 350 for 40 minutes in lieu of the above method.

Guava and Queso Blanca Empanadas
Guava paste and jelly are available in the Latin section of most supermarkets and quesa blanca will be in the refrigerator section. Empanada disc can be found in the frozen cases, but usually in a market catering to Latinos. They are available on line as well.

This simple dessert combines and exotic sweetness of the guava with a mild saltiness of the quesa blanco in a delicate puff pastry empanada.

1 pkg Guava Paste
1 pkg Queso Blanca
1 pkg Frozen Oven (para Horno) Empanada discs, thawed but chilled
Guava Jelly

Place one slice of guava paste (1/2” x 1” x ¼”) and an equal size slice of queso blanca in the center of an empanada disc. Fold in have and seal by crimping with a fork, or folding over the edges in tiny triangles to create the fancy edge (there are number of you tube vidoes to show this method). Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and place empanadas in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes (until golden brown). Remove from over and while hot, brush with guava jelly.