September 5, 2009

Pesto with Attitude

Pesto Marinated Flank Steak

This pesto will have your taste buds standing at attention. This recipe comes from Jim Tarantino's wonderful book Marinades Rubs, Brines, Cures, and Glazes. It's a great guide to exploring how various seasonings are used around the world to add flavor. I recently tried this marinade on flank steak for fajitas. The result was tender and flavorful. The steak was marinated for 8 hours. Total time on the grill to reach medium rare was 10 minutes.

up to 10 cloves of garlic, chopped (I used six)
3 bay leaves broken into pieces
3 jalapenos seeded and chopped
1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt
1 tablespoon chile powder (ancho, chipotle, or even plain chile powder is ok. The ancho or chipotle are smoked peppers which add an even deeper flavor).
1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
3/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano (use the leaves only discard the stems)
4 tablespoons white vinegar (feel free to try red wine vinegar as a substitute)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil is preferred but safflower or canola would also work)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until well mixed. The finished marinade should form a paste and if not used right away can be stored in the refrigerator for approx one week.