I haven’t heard of chimichurri sauce up till this point. After having made it, I wish I’ve regrettably not heard about it soon enough. This South American steak sauce is one of most delicious and versatile sauces around. Chimichurri is an Argentinian is a spicy herb sauce or condiment, similar to pesto that is considered a culinary specialty of Argentina. This basic version uses fresh parsley, jalapeno, cilantro or oregano, garlic, oil and vinegar and a little bit of chili pepper flakes, though the variations on this theme are endless. In Argentina chimichurri is used both as a marinade and a sauce for grilled steak, but you can use it also with fish, chicken, or even pasta. I used it on my hamburgers and the flavors were explosive. While the exact origins of the name chimichurri are unclear, several stories abound to suggest how the sauce got its name. According to one version, chimichurri has at its center an Irishman named Jimmy McCurry, who was traveling with native troops in Argentina’s nineteenth-century struggle for independence. Jimmy McCurry is said to have been the creator of the sauce, but his name, being unpronounceable to locals, morphed into “chimichurri.” Another story features Jimmy Curry, an English importer of Argentine beef, or James C. Hurray, a Scotsman on the hoof with some gauchos. In both of these cases as well, the local tongue managed to turn j’s to ch’s, and the new name stuck. Aside for being a very tasty steak sauce, chimichurri works well as a marinade, and is also delicious on vegetables. In this chimichurri sauce recipe, you will quickly develop your own proportions. I used cilantro instead of oregano. Some people prefer people prefer more garlic, others may prefer only parsley, some add fresh tomatoes – you can experiment and come up with your own signature chimichurri.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
- 1 cup of firmly packed fresh cilantro or oregano, trimmed of thick stems
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes
Finely chop parsley, garlic, jalapeno peppers, oregano or cilantro in a food processor. While processing, stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two.
Yields approximately 4 servings