Recently I have developed an interest in South American cooking and cruising around the web I came across the term Chimichurri and was intrigued simply by the sound of the word. What a delightful surprise to learn that not only is this gorgeous green sauce easy to make but also bursting with flavors I love: parsley, cilantro, and garlic.
As I’ve noted in earlier posts, I use fresh green herbs as substitutes for lettuce in my green salads and flat leaf parsley ranks high on my list of favorite salad greens. So any condiment that calls for mashing parsley with other fresh herbs like cilantro or mint or oregano along with garlic is a sure-fire winner in my book. What I found so intriguing is that this condiment is traditionally used by Argentinians on steak. Although I’m not a huge fan of large hunks of meat, I do like the occasional steak and decided this was a good opportunity to try out this fragrant sauce.
Similar in look to basil pesto, Chimichurri has a little more bite to it since there is no cheese or nuts to temper the fresh garlic, and the splash of vinegar delivers a finishing kick. In my search on the web I noticed that recipes vary in their use of vinegar versus lemon juice as well as what type of fresh herbs. I’ve made it with and without fresh mint and it was good both ways.
Chimichurri is a very versatile sauce and I am enjoying it in cooked rice as well as spread on a piece of toast. My next experiment will be to stir it into some cooked white beans for a bean salad with some canned tuna mixed in. I also think that it would make an amazing salad dressing stirred into some mayonnaise or even a great dip mixed into some sour cream. The possibilities are endless!
1 cup cilantro, packed
1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 green chilies, chopped (depending on type of chilie and desired heat)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin, ground (for stronger flavor roast cumin seeds and then grind)
Pulse all ingredients in food processor. Adjust for salt and serve. Refrigerated, it seems to last at least a week. I have finished eating it all in that time so I don’t know how long it would last. Unlike pesto, it doesn’t lose its fresh green color!