The first time I made chimichurri was sometime back in 2006. I cannot recall specifically where and when I stumbled upon it and I’ve scoured all of my recipe journals in an attempt to retrace my steps. But nothing. What I do recall is that the first time I made this sauce is was to accompany a juicy London Broil. I’ve been hooked ever since. The fresh herbs, pungent garlic, fruity olive oil, spicy jalapeños and acidic vinegar worked magic on that otherwise mediocre meal.
For the uninitiated, chimichurri is an Argentinean condiment. Down in South America, they serve it primarily with beef and lamb. Here in the Georgia burbs, I serve it with everything. Yes, it’s fantastic on grilled beef and lamb. But it’s also phenomenal on pork and fish or served as a dip for boiled or grilled shrimp or roasted fingerling potatoes. Heck, I’ve even served chimichurri at one of my New Orleans Saints football parties alongside Roast Beef Poor Boys. I did feel kind of guilty about that one, since we all know that the traditional roast beef poor boy needs no embellishments. But boy was it good! I’ve also used it to marinate chicken and dress up tacos. Need I say more?
Chimichurri’s construction is as versatile as its use. So feel free to play around with the ingredients. Keep in mind, however, that a true chimichurri always contains olive oil (extra virgin is my preference), parsley (fresh is best) and oregano. As you can see by my ingredient list, I like my chimichurri tangy, spicy and garlicky. I also depart from the traditional preparation methods by emulsifying all of the ingredients. The Argentineans generally blend everything with a whisk. Oh, and last but not least, a little sauce goes a long way. So use it sparingly until you get a handle on the heat, spice and acidity.
If you have any unique recipes for chimichurri, please share them with me by leaving a comment below. I have some leftover sauce in my refrigerator and absent any fresh ideas I may be forced to slap it on a ham sandwich or dip some day-old cold pizza in it.
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
1 large jalapeño pepper, ends removed
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a blender, combine the vinegar and next 7 ingredients (through lemon juice). Blend until smooth. With the blender running, gradually add the olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The chimichurri can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.