I am not sure when the I first heard of chimichurri, the condiment made famous by our opposite-season friends, the Argentinians, but when I tried it for the first time at a non-descript steakhouse in Western Massachusetts, I was blown away. The freshness of the herbs, the kick of the garlic, the mellowness of the shallot, and then the sudden shot of spice from the crushed red pepper. And all of this swirled together within the timeless combination of olive oil and vinegar (and of course salt); it was all of the perfect flavors wrapped into one beautiful sauce. I am under the strong impression that this would probably be good on just about anything. Really, probably anything.
Argentina, as many of you know, is the capital of meat. Pope Francis’ patria has the most per capita meat production and consumption of any country in the world, so it’s no wonder that they have created a vibrant barbecue, or asado, culture.* So what do the Argentinians do with all of that beautiful meat that is grazed on the Pampas of Argentina? Just what any sensible, meat-eating, food-lover would do! 1. Gather all of your friends, 2. Grill it over an asado in your backyard, and 3. Smother the meat with chimichurri and have a fantastic time with your friends chatting and drinking Sangria.
Although Argentina is the most famous for popularizing chimichurri, it actually originated somewhere in the Basque region of what is now Spain, and was delivered to many regions of the New World, especially in South America. As with most diaspora-ed foods, chimichurri takes on different variations depending on region, and not to mention, individual cooks and their tastes.
I shamefully admit I have never been to Argentina, but supposedly they usually don’t put chiles in theirs. I do, however, because I love it. These kinds of recipes are my favorite, where you can’t go super wrong, as long as you taste it as you go. As I stated earlier, this goes good on almost anything, including my new favorite, eggs. So, for the recipe:
Notes: Please, please, please, taste this as you make it and adjust to your tastes accordingly. This recipe is super forgiving. The below recipe is a guideline, but make it to your tastes and what you have in your kitchen. I also blended mine a little more than I normally would, as I also used as a marinade (post will be coming!). So, if yours looks more separated and chunky, that is absolutely fine, and probably more typical.
- 1 cup of cilantro
- 1 cup of parsley
- 1/4 red onion, or 1 medium shallot (preferred)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- juice of 1/2 of a lime
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- blender/food processor
- cutting board
- Roughly chop the cilantro, parsley, shallot (or onion), and garlic. Don’t worry about getting fussy with this or separating everything, since you are going to be throwing them all in the blender anyways.
- Put all ingredients into the blender together.
- Blend for about 15-20 seconds.
- Scoop everything into a small bowl.
- Enjoy with everything!
*An interesting article on meat consumption in Argentina & Brazil for you food economist types by Carlos Steiger (http://www.choicesmagazine.org/2006-2/tilling/2006-2-12.htm)