Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chivito, A Sandwich To Rival The Burger!

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If you are looking for a new summer sandwich to rival a burger, you have come to the right place.  My friend Silvia, who is always up on what's new and what's good, sent me a recipe that appeared in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago.  She and her sister own a fabulous beach house right on the water in Punta del Este, Uruguay, the equivalent of the Hamptons for wealthy Argentinians.

The minute I saw the photo I knew it had to be good; for amongst other things, it is from Silvia that I learned to add a sliced hard boiled egg to my sandwiches.  

Chivito is the national summer steak sandwich and the iconic national snack of Uruguay.  Smaller than a burger, but bigger than a slider, it makes an ideal late-afternoon nibble, along with a cold beer or a minty caipirosca. Flavorful and perfectly prepared, it is completely satisfying.

First, the beef must be tender and pounded thin. It can be rib-eye or shell steak, tenderloin or even flat-iron. I would even try it with top sirloin steaks such as the ones I use for the Cuban Palomilla.  Two and a half ounces per person is plenty. The bread should be a small kaiser or Portuguese roll, with a crisp exterior but a soft crumb. Lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise are a given, as are a little melted cheese and a slice of hard-cooked egg. Roasted peppers and grilled onions are welcome. A spoonful of chimichurri salsa, freshly made, takes it over the top.  Me? I would add all of the above.

If you are planning a barbecue for lunch this summer, why not try these instead of burgers? They are also an easy meal to prepare if you have guests for the weekend. For the recipe click below.


Yield: 6 servings


  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 five-ounce slices tender beef steak, cut 1/2-inch thick
  • 6 slices pancetta or bacon
  • 1 large onion, sliced in thin rings
  • 6 thin slices Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
  • 6 small kaiser or Portuguese sandwich rolls, split
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • lettuce leaves
  • 6 tomato slices
  • 1 roasted sweet pepper, optional
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced, optional but recommended
  • Chimichurri salsa (recipe follows).


Ask your butcher for 3 five-ounce steaks, about a half-inch thick, using rib-eye, shell strip or other tender cut. Trim excess fat from edges if necessary. Cut each steak in half crosswise and lightly pound each piece to a 1/4-inch thickness. You will have 6 small, thin steaks. Season with salt and pepper.
In a wide cast-iron pan or ridged grill pan over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Reserve. Wipe away excess fat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred and softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. (Alternatively, grill over hot coals.)
In the same pan (or over coals) sear the beef on one side till nicely colored, about 2 minutes. Flip it and top each little steak with a slice of cooked pancetta, a slice of cheese and some charred onion. Cook for about 1 minute more for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare. Remove steaks from heat.
Slice the sandwich rolls and spread with mayonnaise. For each sandwich, stack lettuce leaves, cooked steak, tomato slice, roasted pepper and egg if using, and 2 teaspoons chimichurri. Replace the top of the roll and press down lightly. Cut the sandwiches in half if desired. Serve immediatel




  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. 
  • dash of Worcestershire Sauce, optional

  Mix everything together in a bowl.  Can be made ahead but tastes much better fresh.


 Originally published with From Uruguay, a Sandwich to Rival the Reuben By DAVID TANIS, July 4, 2012 the New York Times


  1. This looks absolutely amazing. DELICIOUS and will definitely give this sandwich a try. Thanks for sharing.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  2. I am sharing this with all my grilling friends, and cannot wait to try it myself. It sounds wonderful!

  3. Carolyn, John

    You won't be disappointed!

  4. Has anyone been to El Rey del Chivito on Collins Av in Miami Beach?


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