I’m sure you can guess a few ingredients in the abstract swirl of green above. Nonetheless, I continue this He Cooks She Cooks feature and ask, what is that and why is it in my fridge?
It’s my version of chimichurri, a common condiment in Argentina but with many variations. Here it’s often parsley-based with oregano and chili flakes, along with garlic, oil and red wine vinegar. In the U.S., it’s often made with cilantro. Where culantro is available, this more pungent herb can be used.
What I’m more excited to talk about is the “why.” Food Network recipe developer Sarah Copeland likened chimichurri to a weapon in her “arsenal of flavor.” It’s not difficult to make a batch of it, then find various uses for it throughout the week. “It’s a smart way of infusing a meal with a lot of flavor,” she told me.
Chimichurri is everywhere in Argentina because of the country’s obsession with meat. The sauce is great with grilled beef and chicken. But like Sarah, I have found myself using it in many more dishes. Soups, for one, have been improved by a spoonful of the garlicky sauce . I mix it in with otherwise boring rice and beans. I’ve added it to a tequila-lime marinade, which saved me the steps of adding garlic and chilies separately. I’ve used it in pasta sauce and often use it as a sandwich spread. This afternoon I put a tad on my scrambled eggs.
I have decided that from here on out, there will always be chimichurri or another garlic-herb sauce in my fridge, maybe with basil, maybe cilantro…I’m curious to try Sarah’s sorrel pesto idea too. The point is to have instant flavor, so experiment away starting with a basic formula of herbs + garlic + spice + acid + oil.
If you need more of a recipe, try this:
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon oregano (I used dried)
- 1 garlic clove
- whole dried chilies or chili flakes (to your taste)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
- salt and pepper to taste
In a small food processor, blend parsley, oregano, garlic and chilies. Stir in oil and vinegar. (You can blend it in the food processor, which will emulsify the liquids and further puree the herbs to create a creamier sauce different from the chimichurri condiment common in Argentina, but no less delicious.) Season with salt and pepper.
I’ve found mine keeps in the refrigerator for about a week or two. The oil might solidify, but after a little while on the counter it goes back to normal.
Serve on meat, fish or poultry. Use in soups, marinades, as a sandwich spread…anywhere really.