Home Cooked for the Holidays: Lourdes Castro

Posted on Dec 19, 2013 10:45am

Chef Lourdes Castro joined the ladies for our Home Cooked for the Holiday series.  She brought some delicious light and bright dishes for a flavorful holiday tapas party.  Here are her recipes!


Mini Arugula and Scallions stuffed Steak served with Chimichurri

Makes about 16 small rolls


2 pounds flat iron steak

Salt and Black pepper, to taste3 cups arugula leaves1 bunch green onions, tops and roots trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pound the beef

Cut the steak lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch strips.  Make sure to cut out and discard the line of connective tissue that tends to run down the center of flat iron steaks.


Place the steak strips between two piece of plastic wrap.  Using the flat end of a meat pounder or tenderizer, pound the meat down until it measures about 1/4-inch thickness and you even out the thickness of the meat.  Finally, cut the long strips into 4-inch pieces (you should end up with several pieces of meat that measure about 4" x 3" x 1/4")

Season beef, add toppings, and roll

Season the beef on both sides with salt and pepper and place it lengthwise in front of you.  

Place the arugula and the scallions on the bottom half of the meat.  Starting with the side closest to you begin rolling the beef tightly being careful to keep the arugula and scallions from falling out.  You should end up with a tightly wound cylinder of steak.  Place the seam side of the beef on your work surface and cut two long pieces of cotton twine.  Place each under the meat and tie tightly around the rolled beef and into a knot.

Sear, roast, and serve

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Place a tablespoon of the olive oil on a large oven safe sauté pan and set it over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot place the rolled meat on the pan seam side down.  Cook for 3 minutes or until the meat seals its seam and develops a charred crust.  

Rotate the meat a quarter turn and continue cooking until all four sides are seared.  If desired, transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the meat reaches your desired doneness. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and meat.

Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before removing the string and slicing in half.  Serve with the chimichurri (recipe below).

(Presentation note: Serve the meat, cut side down, on a bed of arugula and place the bowl of chimichurri alongside)

Chimichurri - Fresh Parsley Sauce

Makes 1 3/4 cups

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed1/4 teaspoon salt2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped

1 tablespoon oregano, dried

1/2 cup red wine vinegar1 cup olive oil1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Create a garlic paste

Place the crushed garlic on your cutting board and sprinkle the salt over it. Wait a minute or so; you will notice some moisture leaching from the garlic. Holding your knife blade almost parallel to the cutting board, scrape the blade over the chopped garlic a few times, turning the garlic into a semisolid paste.

Place the garlic paste in a small mixing bowl.

Combine the remaining ingredients

Add the parsley, oregano, vinegar, oil, and crushed red pepper to the bowl with the garlic paste and stir until well combined.


Place the sauce in a small serving bowl and serve.

Smoked Paprika Dusted Shrimp


Makes about 35 shrimp

1 pound large shrimp, shelled, deveined, and butterflied*

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup arugula

2 limes, cut into wedges

Season and marinate shrimp

Place the shrimp, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a mixing bow and toss until well combined.

Sear the shrimp

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat.  You do not need to add any oil to the pan.  Cooking in batches, sear the shrimp for 4 minutes per side.

Place the arugula on a platter and top with the seared shrimp and lime wedges.  Serve with toothpicks or cocktail forks.

*Note: Butterflying Shrimp

A butterflied shrimp is a shrimp that has been sliced lengthwise. In some cases, one side of the shrimp is kept attached, but other times it is sliced all the way through. For this recipe the shrimp will be sliced in half all the way through.

The easiest way to do this is after the shrimp have been deveined. Place the blade of your knife in the indentation created on the "back" of the shrimp by the deveining process and slice the shrimp all the way through.

Cuban Black Beans & Rice topped with Avocado Slices and Pickled Onions (Vegan)

Serves 8 dinner portions/ Serves 16 small plates

4 cloves garlic, peeled2 teaspoons salt2 tablespoons olive oil1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon dried oregano1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, not drained

1 1/2 cups water1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


2 avocados, sliced

1/2 red onion, slice thin

Red wine vinegar

Mash and brown the garlic

Put the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cloves, let it sit for a few minutes, and mince it into a paste with a knife. Set aside.  Alternatively, place the garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle and crush until a paste forms.

Brown the garlic and sauté the vegetables and rice

Place the garlic and olive oil in a large pot (about 5 quarts) and set over medium high heat.  Allow the garlic to begin to sizzle and turn golden brown before adding the onion and green pepper.  Sauté the vegetables until they turn limp and translucent, about 4 minutes.  

Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, and rice and stir for 1 minute until well mixed and all the rice is coated in oil.

Add the beans, simmer, and serve

Add the canned beans along with their liquid, the water, and vinegar to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice. Allow the covered pot to sit off the heat for 5 minutes.

Prepare the pickled onion

Place the sliced onions in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover.  Keep in mind that expelling air and sealing the bag will help keep the onions submerged in vinegar so you may not need to use too much vinegar.  Allow to onions to marinate for at least 20 minutes.  


Fluff the rice with a fork and serve in individual bowls.  Top with a slice of avocado and a sprinkling of pickled onions.

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