That is all I can say.
Chimichurri sauce – where have you been all my life?!!!
The bold, zesty flavours of this sauce make my tongue want to leap out of my mouth and do a kicky Latin salsa dance. It’s like pesto on steroids. I’m not quite sure how such a few simple ingredients come together to create such a sensation, but somehow . . . they do. It’s magic.
And it’s even more magic how this simple but sensational sauce enlivens everything it touches. Chimichurri is originally an Argentinian sauce served with grilled steak (and it does do amazing things for a piece of smokey, juicy red meat) but don’t let yourself stop there from experimenting with this addictive condiment.
It is a wonderful marinade for any cuts of chicken, beef, or even fish. Toss it with steamed new potatoes and you will swoon as you swallow, drizzle it on hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs, or atop a burger. Splosh a little onto a sandwich and spread it around. Mix a spoonful into any salad dressing, or into an egg or tuna salad. Drizzle it over cooked dried beans or swirl a smidge into a bowl of soup. You won’t want to stop adding chimichurri sauce to anything savoury you can think of.
And, definitely, serve it the traditional Argentinian way with steak or any other cut of grilled meat – it’s even good on barbecued sausages. Chicken loves to be slathered in chimichurri sauce, as do grilled shrimps. We had it for dinner tonight dolloped on top of tender barbecued salmon and the chimichurri turned the fish into something absolutely special.
I love this time of year because the garden is overflowing in its bounty. The runner bean teepee is almost filled in, the corn is taller than I am, we’ve been eating our share of new potatoes, peas, beans, zucchini, carrots, beets and lettuce. The herbs are at their peak of abundance. The flat-leaved Italian parsley is robust and green and just begging to be transformed into chimichurri sauce. I love snapping off large handfuls and inhaling deeply of the rich grassy aroma.
Parsley gives the sauce its vibrant freshness and red wine vinegar adds a zingy kick, but I think it’s the garlic that knocks it into orbit. You’ve gotta love garlic to love this sauce. But since garlic is so healthy – why not enjoy it with a flavour combo like in this chimichurri sauce?
And it’s such a fun word to say. Chimichurri, chimichurri, cha-cha-cha.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I haven’t used curly parsley in this sauce because I have much more flat-leaved parsley in my garden – I like its flavour better. I imagine the curly parsley would work too, you’d just have to pack it very tightly to get the right amount to measure it.
If you don’t like much spice, leave out the red pepper flakes, but I think they add just the right amount of zip. The ¼ teaspoon listed is not really enough to make it burningly hot – it just has a slight warmth. If you like more heat, use ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
When I buy red wine vinegar, I always look for a brand that has 6% acetic acid (rather than 5%) if I can find it – more zip for your buck!
If you’re worried about ‘garlic breath’ – I figure that since eating parsley helps reduce the after-effects of garlic, in this sauce the amount of parsley must just about cancel out any garlic odors – so go for the garlic gusto!
You can use the chimichurri sauce as soon as it’s made, but it’s even better the next day. I recommend making the full amount because it’s easy to find ways to use it up in a week.
adapted from Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night, Bringing your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes by Daisy Martinez
- 2 cups (500ml) flat-leaved parsley leaves, packed
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
- ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
To measure the parsley, tear the leaves off the stems and pack them semi-firmly into a measuring cup. You will need at least one large bunch of parsley (2 if they are smaller).
Place the parsley leaves, garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until the parsley is chopped but still chunky.
Add the salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Process just until coarsely ground – you don’t want a smooth puree – you still want texture in the sauce.
Scrape into a serving bowl or storage container. Keeps refrigerated for up to a week (if it lasts that long).
Makes about 1¼ cups (300ml) of liquid green gold.
(After this photo was taken, gobs more chimichurri sauce were slathered on the potatoes, too – by yours truly.)
Try this: Toss a bowl full of steamed new potato chunks with a few spoonfuls of chimichurri sauce and you will have a very special dish.
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