“We’d love to come visit Dad, but I just don’t think it’s safe...”
If that sounds like a recent conversation from within your own family, you are not alone.
This year, more American families will spend Thanksgiving apart than ever before.
And if you’re one of the many now wondering what to do to make the best of things, here’s our suggestion:
Forget the turkey.
Instead, fire up that grill for a gaucho Thanksgiving...
More on that in a moment. But first, to refresh your memory of our Mediterranean wines, here’s Julien Miquel with his tasting of our most legendary collection yet...
A Gaucho Thanksgiving (continued)
Step 1: Preparing Your Parilla
An asado is an old Argentine cowboy tradition of spending all Sunday afternoon on a big, lingering meal.
Imagine a little green oasis with a stream of pure snowmelt running through it. You find the shade of a tree (the high altitudes in Northwestern Argentina mean UV rays are 80% more intense than at sea level). You lie back, your head propped on a saddle bag, as you snack on cheese and olives while the main course cooks. A cousin strums on a Spanish guitar. A sibling passes a bottle of wine around.
A pure snowmelt stream out in Argentina’s northwest
The centerpiece of the asado is the grill – the parilla. Build a fire. Toss in some pinecones as a fire starter (try not to use briquettes).
The heat should be hot enough to char the outer layer of your steak. Don’t worry too much about overcooking. With the right cut, the right prep, and the sides (and wine), you should be fine. Just remember: low and slow.
Step 2: Picking Your Meats
Bife de lomo is THE cut in Argentina. That’s tenderloin. But tire de asado, or short ribs, are also popular.
Step 3: The Argentine Secret to Ultra-Tender Meat
The Argentine secret to ultra-tender meat is actually quite simple: rock salt.
Coat the meat with rock salt. (Don’t skimp!) Then get it on the grill (the cooking will take a little while).
Step 4: Picadas, Salad, and Wine
Here’s where you break out some sharp cheese (gouda), jamón or salami, and olives for snacking.
You’ll also want to open a bottle of malbec here. Can’t go wrong with Sunal, Mayuco, or Tacana.
Or, if you care to use a bottle from our most recent Mediterranean Collection, opt for the deep fruit and tobacco overtones of Zisola Doppiozeta 2016 or the pepper and rosemary of Planeta Maroccoli Sicilia Menfi DOC 2015.
At this point, someone in your party should be at work on a salad. Rather than heaps of grilled vegetables, the Argentines have figured out that the best complement to a steak is a simple mix of fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar.
(Optional: mashed potatoes and oven-roasted carrots. Just don’t overdo it.)
Step 5: Throw on Some Chorizo and Blood Sausage
The first course of an asado isn’t a light soup or salad (the salad we mentioned above is consumed with the meat), it’s sausage in a French baguette.
Quarter or half a sausage per person. Sausage should be the last thing on the grill and the first thing off it. Then take the chorizo or morcilla and immediately stick it in that piece of baguette.
Don’t use ketchup or mustard. The juices from the sausage will be more than enough.
Step 6: A Round of Applause for the Asador
If you must season your meat after it’s off the grill, stick to more salt.
Eaten with the aforementioned salad, you’ll find you don’t need (and, in fact, don’t want) any condiments on your meat. (Just trust us here...)
Keep pouring (open another bottle if necessary – if you have multiple vintage years, start younger and go older).
When you finally sit down at the table, it is customary for the other diners to give the asador (that’s you) a round of applause.
Step 7: When in Doubt, More Wine