Gaúcho-Style Flatbread or “Grilled” Skirt Steak (fraldinha) with Chimichurri Sauce Flatbread is an ultimate Brazilian creation. A dish that is prepared using Soy Sauce as a marinade. It is a recipe that can be served as a quick main dish or as an appetizer, once sliced.
By Denise Browning
Gaúcho-Style Flatbread or “Grilled” Skirt Steak (fraldinha) with Chimichurri Sauce Flatbread is our ultimate creation… a dish prepared using Soy Sauce as a marinade, natural browning ‘agent’, and flavor booster. It is a dish that can be served as a quick main dish or as an appetizer, once sliced.
Our gaúcho-style flatbread is a family favorite recipe! The term gaúcho (Portuguese: [ ?a?u?u] ) refers to Brazilian ‘cowboy’ from Southern Brazil as well as to residents from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In Southern Brazil, skirt steak (or fraldinha — traditionally only salted and grilled) is a popular dish which is often served accompanied by chimichurri sauce, the South American pesto. This green sauce is originally from Argentina, yet widely consumed in Southern Brazil. Having leftovers permitted me to use both the skirt steak and chimichurri sauce as toppings for this flatbread (and pizzas), as well as fillings for sandwiches and tacos.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 lbs skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into half crosswise
- ½ lime
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 bunch (about 1-1/2 cups) fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 limes, juiced
- ¾ cup olive oil
- A pinch of salt (only enough to taste)
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- 4 Naan breads
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for brushing, divided
- 4 teaspoons tomato sauce, divided
- 2 cups provolone cheeses , divided
- Slivered or grated Parmesan cheese to atop
- Remove steaks from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes prior to marinating and cooking. Tenderize the meat by placing on a cutting board, covering its top with a sheet of plastic wrap, and hammer (side with spikes) on both sides. Whisk together the soy sauce, olive oil, and black pepper in a small bowl. Pour marinade into a long rectangular pyrex and lay both steaks in the marinade. Marinate the steaks for 5 to 7 minutes in one side and then flip steaks to marinate for additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side. Remove meat from marinade and shake to remove excess marinade. NOTE: In Southern Brazil, traditionally only coarse salt is applied to the meat right before grilling on a long metal skewer over flames. The marinade with soy sauce is my own way of re-creating this family fave!
- Heat a large cast-iron griddle (flat side of the griddle without the grill marks) over high heat on a large burner.
- When griddle is sizzling hot (sprinkle a bit of water to test and let evaporate), add the steaks. Let meat get a good sear for about 2 minutes on each of both sides. Place seared steaks in double thickness of aluminum foil and wrap well to avoid heat escaping from the wrap. Place wraps onto a baking sheet, cover with an inverted pyrex, and allow to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature. Remove meat from foil, sprinkle lime juice on top, let sit for about 5 minutes, and slice thinly against the grain of the meat (or chop into fine, small slivers). Since Brazilians use cutlery to eat pizza and flatbreads, I arranged sliced steak on top of mine. If you eat pizzas and flatbreads with bare hands (American way), chop steak finely to top flatbread. This flatbread can also be simply folded like a taco!
- While meat is wrapped in foil, preheat oven to 400 degrees F, prepare the chimichurri sauce, and assemble the flatbread.
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, vinegar, parsley, oregano, lime juice, and olive oil. Process enough for all ingredients to blend in together well while yet obtaining a chunky sauce. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- Place the naan breads on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each bread with ¼ teaspoon of olive oil and then, spread 1 teaspoon of tomato sauce over each bread. Sprinkle evenly about ½ cup of cheese on top of each bread.
- If you prefer to keep steak rare to medium-rare, bake flatbreads for about 8 minutes, remove from oven, and only then arrange sliced or finely chopped steak on top. Pour about 2 tablespoons of chimichurri sauce per flatbread on top of the steak, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.
- However, if you do prefer steak well-done, arrange either sliced or finely chopped steak on top of the flatbread, pour 2 tablespoons of the chimichurri sauce per flatbread on top of the steak, and bake for about 4 to 5 minutes or just enough for the cheese to melt. Remove from oven and serve while still hot with the remaining chimichurri sauce and Parmesan cheese. Flatbread can be accompanied by a glass of red wine. Enjoy our Gaúcho-style flatbread!
Denise Browning is a native Brazilian foodie, trained Chef, cooking instructor, restaurant menu/recipe developer, and former lawyer. She is also the author of From Brazil To You - a blog that features Brazilian, fusion, and international dish recipes, stories, and photography of Brazil. Her writing has appeared in Cia Brasil Magazine, while her photography is frequently featured on Foodgawker, TasteSpotting, and Foodepix. She lives in Texas with her American husband and two children.