Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
A few weeks ago, we went to a friend’s birthday cook-out where grilled rib-eyes were on the pit. Someone brought a dish of chimichurri – a perfect addition to the potluck meal we enjoyed. Ever since eating that chimichurri on my steak, I’ve wanted more.
What is chimichurri? Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce that can be a marinade for all cuts of beef, as well as an accompaniment. With Argentinian origins, it’s traditionally green or red – “chimichurri verde” and “chimichurri rojo.” Translated loosely, the word chimichurri means, “a mixture of several things in no particular order.” It’s a staple condiment in Argentina, and grilled beef is never served without it on the side.
Chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and white or red wine vinegar. Other spices that can be included are paprika, cumin, thyme, lemon, basil, cilantro and bay leaf. In red chimichurri, tomato and red bell peppers are often added.
A couple years ago, I discovered dried chimichurri sold in the spice section of my grocery store. I’ve purchased several bottles and use it when certain recipes need an extra kick. To rehydrate it, you simply add oil and watch it come back to life. The chimichurri we had at the cook-out was certainly not brought back to life from dehydration, and I wanted more of the real thing.
I started researching different chimichurri recipes online and found that while parsley and cilantro appeared to almost be used interchangeably in many instances, true chimichurri does not have cilantro in it because cilantro was not a common herb found in Argentina.
I went to both grocery stores in Fort Davis in search of fresh parsley, and came back empty-handed. I did however, have cilantro.
It is a proven scientific fact that people are genetically predisposed to either love cilantro or hate it – there is no middle ground. I could eat cilantro with just about anything. Something about a particular chromosome makes people love it or hate it. I can’t remember scientific details, but I know I’ve got the cilantro-loving chromosome in me.
So, I made a batch of cilantro chimichurri to go with the steaks my husband was grilling for dinner. Talk about delicious. I even poured a little on my fried eggs the next morning. That little bit of bright green sauce took my Saturday morning breakfast to a new happy place.
Whether you’re on Team Cilantro or Team Parsley, chimichurri is a wonderful marinade and basting sauce or condiment that adds tangy, fresh flavor to any cut of beef, as well as chicken. Eggs, too. It takes just a few minutes to prepare, and is even better the second day after the flavors have melded. Store it in the refrigerator for up a week, in an airtight container.
Cilantro chimichurri is my new favorite condiment.
1 cup packed cilantro (you can use parsley instead of cilantro – or both – whichever you prefer)
2 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar (I used red)
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Place garlic in food processor (or blender) and “pulse” until finely chopped. Add cilantro, vinegar, oregano, pepper flakes, cumin, and olive oil. Process it until it’s smooth. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup.