Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hanger steak with Chimichurri sauce

We talk about this blog a lot, my wife and I. Neither of us is sure what to make of it quite yet. But one thing that we have figured out is that food needs to be colorful to be appealing in a photograph. In particular, it needs some bit of contrasting color to stand out from the browns and earth tones typical of most foods.

So Jhan decided to make a chimichurri sauce - a bright green Argentinian sauce made of herbs that I'd never ever heard of before (warning: it's delicious).

Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

The Food

Hanger steak is such a good deal and great for marinated and grilled dishes -just don't overcook it.

For tonight's dinner I marinated the hanger steak in a balsamic marinade and grilled it in a very hot oiled cast iron skillet - about 2 minutes on each side for rare. The Chimichurri sauce was a mix of finely chopped parsley, fresh oregano, garlic, red onion and crushed red peppers. I mixed the herbs with equal parts EVOO and red wine vinegar and added salt (I use kosher salt for these types of sauces, sea salt for pasta water, etc. - various salts make an amazing difference it the taste of a dish.) and cracked black pepper to taste.

I paired the steaks with some roasted red peppers and creamy mashed potatoes. The Chimichurri really makes this dish, the steaks were tender and done just right, the peppers were a good flavor addition with the herbiness of the sauce and of course mashed potatoes are just plain good with everything. I added a tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette to round out our dinner.

Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Tomato Salad

The Photography

Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce Lighting Set Up
Another three light set up. Now that I've gotten used to using the Vivitar tethered, I really like the even lighting I can get using three lights. This lighting is similar to the pizza lighting except that I effectively have lights on all four sides: Vivitar 285 in front, 430EX to the left, 580EX bounced off the wall in back, and a large reflector on the right. This gives a very even but not featureless light. I like it.

In the photo below, notice the slight shadow to the right - noticeable, but not strong. That was the effect that I wanted.

Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Lessons Learned
  1. Chimichurri is wonderful stuff
  2. Even lighting doesn't have to be dull
  3. Color contrasts really are important

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