My Recipe Box

Argentine Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa Criolla


Serves twelve.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

Chimichurri is the star salsa of the Argentine grill, but the lesser known salsa criolla was my favorite when I visited that country. Full of onions, red peppers, and herbs, the mixture is a light but intensely flavorful condiment for grilled steak.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4-1/2 lb. fl ank steak (about 3 medium steaks), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and fi nely diced (about 1-1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1-1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar

In a small bowl, mix about two-thirds of the garlic paste with 1 Tbs. of the thyme, 2 tsp. of the black pepper, the chili powder, brown sugar, and 1-1/2 Tbs. of the salt. Arrange the steaks on a rimmed baking sheet and pat the spice rub all over them. Cover and let sit for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.

In a 1-qt. sealable container, combine the tomato, onion, red pepper, oil, and vinegar with 1/4 cup water, and the remaining garlic paste, 1 Tbs. thyme, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Shake well. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before serving.

Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Grill the steak (covered on a gas grill) until it has good grill marks on the fi rst side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the steak; if using a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium  and cover the grill. Continue to cook until done to your liking (make a slit in the steak to take a peek), 4 to 5 minutes more for medium rare; 6 to 7 minutes more for medium.

Let the steak rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain. Stir or shake the salsa criolla and serve with the steak.


Use any leftover steak and salsa criolla together in Steak & Eggs Rancheros.

Drink Suggestions

The supple, fruity flavors of Black Box Merlot, from California, pair well with the steak, and the 3-liter box is perfect for serving a crowd.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 320, Fat (kcal): 18, Fat Calories (g): 160, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 35, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5, Carbohydrates (mg): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 615, Cholesterol (g): 65, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Really love this dish. After making it several times, everybody thought it was better using a skirt steak and I cut the amount of vinegar in half. Won the family cook-off with it!

I've made this steak numerous times since it first appeared in one of FC's pull-out recipes. This recipe never fails to please. Although it takes a bit of time to make, we love the salsa; it's great on chicken and fish, too. It had always bothered me that half the rub remained in the marinating dish so, the last time I made it, I added some olive oil to the rub to help it adhere to the steak. It worked like a charm; the steak was even tastier and the oil helped to keep it moist, too.

I always say I'm a "one hit wonder" when it comes to cooking steaks and this is my "one hit!" I can't tell you how many people have asked for this recipe!

Delicious, loved the combination of spices in the rub w/ the salsa. Used skirt steak instead of flank. Will definitely make again, maybe w/ just a little more brown sugar.

I was worried about how much onion there was in the criolla salsa but my husband loved it. We've been experimenting with different flank steak marinades. This is one of our favorites!

This was a great change from my typical Asian marinade flank steak. I served it with a simple green salad and a Southwestern Black Bean, Corn Salad...and no Salsa Criolla. Going for the salsa next time!

Delicious! The spice rub is great, the salsa is great! I rubbed the steak down and let it marinate over night. And I also made the salsa the day before! The steak was so flavorful! Great recipe!!!

Delicious! The spices on the steak are great on their own, but then add the salsa and it gets even more interesting. The only thing is, if you put the salsa on top of your sliced steak, your steak gets cold really quick, so I just microwaved it for a few seconds to warm it back up again.

This is so flavorful, without being hot. I have used the rub and salsa on chicken thighs also, and served them in tacos. Big hit!

The flavors in the rub were a perfect blend with this salsa. I mixed in a little olive oil to the rub to make a paste, this allowed more flavor to remain adhered to the meat as it grilled. The entire family loved this variation of grilled flank steak.

I made this for a Father's Day grill-out and everyone fell over backwards at how delicious this plate was. I followed the recipe to the tee and it worked out better than I could have ever expected. I have made this on several occasions since then and it is at the top of my list for a crowd pleaser.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More