Let’s talk chimichurri. Its garlicky and tangy with a spicy little kick, filled with lovely fresh herbs. Light and summery, grassy, verdant and ridiculously flavorful.
An essential element of Argentinean cuisine, a bowl of chimichurri can be found on every dinner table, and rightfully so. Once you make it, you’ll put it on everything — no exaggeration!
Chimichurri verde is an uncooked condiment made from parsley and cilantro, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes. A variation called chimichurri rojo adds red bell pepper and tomato.
While mainly thought of as a condiment for grilled beef, it’s beautiful on pork, chicken, shrimp and fish, too. But wait, there’s more! It’s amazing on tofu, eggs and lentils. Slather it on grilled or raw veggies or use it as salad dressing. Chimichurri can be used as a marinade or basted onto meat as it cooks, or onto cooked meat as it rests. Add it to sour cream or Greek yogurt to make a dip, or mayonnaise as an herbaceous sandwich spread. My family schmears it on bread and eats it with a spoon. Because it goes on everything!
This is a perfect recipe when you have too many herbs in the garden or fridge and want to use them up and make them last longer than they would otherwise. Every time I make it, it comes out a bit different because I use whatever I have on hand. Parsley is essential to this recipe but, sometimes I have more cilantro than parsley, or I might add other herbs. Sometimes I have shallots instead of green or purple onions. I’ve used lemon juice instead red wine vinegar. It’s all delicious.
If you’re a purist, you’ll want to sharpen your knife and bust out the mortar and pestle. I have nothing but respect for that. Personally, I let my food processor do the work for me, just don’t overprocess this sauce. It’s supposed to be a little chunky.
The measurements are flexible. Use this as a place to begin, adjusting the recipe until it speaks or sings to your taste buds.
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 1/2 cups total
2 cups flat-leaf parsley (or 1 cup each parsley and cilantro)
3 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion (I used a combo of purple and green onions)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Start by preparing the herbs. Measure 2 packed cups of the washed leaves and tender stems of parsley and/or cilantro. I love that you can use stems in this recipe. They’re so flavorful and they’re often discarded.
In your food processor, process the garlic and onion until chopped. Add the herbs and process until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper flakes and process until combined. Let sit at least 10 minutes for flavors to meld. If making ahead of time, cover tightly (imagine that raw garlic and onion invading your fridge!) and chill until ready to use. Leftover sauce can be kept refrigerated for a week.
Here’s my favorite appetizer using chimichurri; roast beef crostini. Heat oven to 400 F. Slice a French bread loaf into thin slices, brush with olive oil and toast in oven. Top with slices of deli roast beef drizzled with chimichurri.
Remember: Real friends tell you when you have parsley in your teeth. I am that kind of friend. Go check your teeth.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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