The Italians call it Salumi. The French, Charcuterie. The Argentinians have their own word for it, “Fiambre”. In the states it’s “cold cuts”, but somehow that just doesn’t do such a time honored set of skills required to produce cured meats the justice it deserves.
These products include (but are by no means limited to) force meats, sausages, pates, terrines, salt and air cured meats. When artfully presented for an afternoon repast with crisp white wine or cold beer and some cheese, they are all you need to serve a crowd.
In Argentina, the undisputed king of the Fiambre hill is the “Matambre”. At least according to me it is. I though it fitting to come up with a recipe for a matambre that the family approved of. They really liked this one.
For the Flank
- 2-3 Lb Flank Steak
- 2 Carrots, peels and cut into sticks
- 12 Martini Olives, Cut in Half
- 3 Hard-boiled eggs, Peeled and quartered lengthwise
- A small bag of baby spinach
- 1 Tsp dried Rosemary
- 1 TBS dried Oregano
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Butchers twine
For the Braising Liquid
- 3 Cups Beef Stock
- 1 Cup Dry Red Wine
- 3 TBS Tomato Paste
- 6 whole Garlic Cloves, peeled
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Quartered
- 15 whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 TBS Olive Oil
Prepare the Flank steak. Place the steak on a large cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, butterfly the flank steak by slicing it in half little by little and opening it like a book, until you have almost cut all the way through and it opens flat. Trim the steak so it is a neat rectangle. Place wax paper on the top of it and pound with a mallet until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Note the direction of the grain of the steak. Arrange the steak with the grain going away from you, it will be easier to fill.
Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the steak. On the inside (the side you will lay out the filling), sprinkle the rosemary and the oregano. Lay down two layers of spinach, leaving a 1 inch border all the way around. Place the carrot sticks end to end, parallel to the grain in five rows, equally apart. Put six of the olive halves next to each row, and three of the egg quarters next to them, all going with the grain. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the spinach and carrots and the rest.
Turn the cutting board so that the carrot rows are now parallel to the edge of the counter (rotate it 90 degrees). Take the side of the steak nearest you, and tightly roll it up. Tie it off with butchers twine at three places and set the roll aside.
In a large heavy pot, heat the 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, being sure to get good color all the way around. Remove the meat from the pot, and add the beef broth. Deglaze the pot scraping up all the brown bits. Add the wine and tomato paste. Whisk to incorporate the tomato paste (no lumps) and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pot and add the Garlic, Onion, Peppercorns and bay leaves. When the liquid return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Braise for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender when stuck with a skewer or toothpick. Remove the meat from the liquid and allow to cool. Refrigerate and slice 1/2 inch slices when cold. Serve with Chimichurri on the side.
Optional: While the meat is cooling you can strain the sauce and return it to the pot, reducing the liquid to a demi-glace consistency, or add a roux of 3 TBS flour and 3 TBS butter to the hot liquid, creating a wonderful gravy.
I am absolutely sure I can shoehorn the outdoor grill into this process, so rest assured that I will be working that out soon.