My recipe for chimichurri, the Argentinian parsley sauce that works so well with meat and fish but also livens up other dishes. Later this week, I'll share a simple recipe to use chimichurri for a special (dare I say 'romantic'? Valentine's Day is upon us!) weeknight-easy meal, Seared Scallops with Chimichurri & Garlicky Polenta .
Food lovers, say hello to chimichurri [pronounced chim-ee-CHOOR-ee], the parsley and garlic sauce from Argentina. It’s a must for grilling meat, especially if hosting an ‘asado’, a festival of grilled meat. But it’s useful otherwise, too. If your soup is a little bland, top with chimichurri. Use it instead of ketchup or mustard in a sandwich. Top a pile of mashed potatoes with a spoonful. Spoon a little into an omelette. Once you have chimichurri on hand, it’s easy to reach for again and again. (And don’t worry, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll share two favorite recipes that expressly use chimichurri.)
HOW TO KEEP PARSLEY FRESH To keep parsley fresh, rinse it well, then stick the whole bunch, stems down, into a tall glass with about an inch of water and store in the refrigerator; if needed, freshen the water every couple of days. The glass supports the stems, the water keeps the parsley hydrated. It works!
CURLY PARSLEY vs FLAT-LEAF ITALIAN PARSLEY Curly parsley is so passé, yes? Its hardy tendrils have a 1970s feel, forever deigned to adorn a plain plate. We cooks have been taught that the more perishable flat-leaf parsley (also called ‘Italian parsley’ is fresher-brighter-better. Me too. Chances are, somewhere in these Kitchen Parade pixels, I’ve passed along what I’d been told: flat-leaf ‘Italian’ parsley is the choice for in-the-know cooks. Awhile back, Mark Bittman, author of the Minimalist column for the New York Times, played one parsley versus the other and discovered that contrary to common wisdom, freshness trumps variety. I haven’t tried chimichurri with curly parsley but bet it would be just fine.
MY CHIMICHURRI RECIPE
Time to table: 1 - 24 hours
Makes 3/4 cup
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup (about 45g) packed fresh parsley, mostly leaves, washed well and patted dry
- 1/2 cup (84g) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
In a small food processor (see TIPS), chop the garlic to form small pieces but don’t mash or let become mushy. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the parsley to the food processor, in batches if needed, and chop until small but distinct pieces, not a paste. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
Stir the remaining ingredients into the mixing bowl. Transfer to a container (see TIPS). Before serving, let rest at room temperature for at least an hour or refrigerate for 24 hours. Return to room temperature before serving, stir to re-mix the ingredients.
ALANNA’s TIPS This small volume of garlic and parsley doesn’t chop well in a large food processor. But if you don’t have a small one, just finely chop the garlic and parsley with a knife. (You know, by hand, how quaint!) But don’t be tempted to just add the oil and other ingredients to the food processor and whiz away. Texture is important to chimichurri, you want to be able to see and feel the individual components. Homegrown parsley seems to have stronger flavors and is more stem-y than store-bought. For a recent batch that was very, very good, I used only 25g of leaves only, even though it was tedious to pull of only leaves. In that same batch, the olive oil measured out at 107g not 84g. I can't explain the difference, just want to make note for myself and others. For the moment, I recommend measuring by volume instead of weight. A glass jar won’t stain or hold garlic smell like a plastic one will. Much to my surprise, chimichurri keeps. I made a huge batch (eight batches!) in December for our buffalo roast and six weeks later, a couple of cups of leftovers are still good. I think it’s because when cold, the oil forms a seal on top.
'Round the World in 80 Sauces (Okay, Three)
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