Chimichurri 

On any given day when we’re preparing something in the kitchen, anything really, that little light bulb blinks on and we think, ‘This would be so much better with a sauce or marinade, or both.’ 99% of the time, we’re right, but what to make? When you’ve nothing definite in mind, and maybe even not 100% sure what you’ve got in fridge and pantry, the correct answer is Chimichurri, (or chimmichurri, if you really like Ms). 
Chimichurri is a green sauce designed ostensibly for grilled meats, but that’s frankly selling it short. It’s fabulous on pasta, goes great with fish, makes a great seasoning for soups and stews, and shines on roasted or steamed veggies as well – It’s even great on eggs. The popular claim is that this legendary creation hails from Argentina, the Holy Land of grilled meats, but its roots go deeper yet. Given the classical Spanish pronunciation of the word, with the initial ch spoken almost as a tz, and the double rr well rolled on the tongue, it’s a good bet that the origin of chimichurri lies with the Basque settlers who arrived in Argentina back in the 1800s. The Basque have a word designed specifically for the kind of spur-of-the-moment sauce we’re discussing here – Tximitxurri, which more or less means, ‘a mixture of several things in no particular order’. Perfect, right?

That’s exactly what chimichurri is. The classic version consists of flat leaf parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flake, but variants on this are not only OK, they’re expected. It’s very much like spaghetti sauce – Sure there’s a ‘classic’ version, but everybody makes theirs different, and all those variants are equally as valid. Chimichurri was designed to take advantage of what you’ve got on hand, and the beauty lies in the options. Other parsley variants, cilantro, culantro, kale, celery leaves, or arugula can replace the flat leaf. Onion or shallot can augment the garlic. Any one of a number of herbs can be added – smoked or sweet paprika, cumin seed, lemon thyme, or any variant of basil come readily to mind. Sweet pepper, chiles, tomato, tomatillo, citrus, all go great as well. The only limits are your imagination and what’s on hand.

Marinate meat or veggies in chimichurri for at least two hours and up to overnight, refrigerated and covered. Fish should go no longer than an hour or so, so as not to overpower it. Freezing chimichurri works great; it’s a perfect sauce to do the ice cube tray trick with; you can snap out a cube or more whenever you feel the need. While store bought is available, that’s just an absolute no no; making chimichurri is so quick and simple, there’s no reason not to make a fresh batch; you’ll save yourself from preservatives and stabilizers., too.

Here’re a few versions to get you started. Bunches of parsley, cilantro, etc, all pretty uniform these days: If I had to hazard a guess at the volume of 1/2 Bunch, I’d call it 2 Cups loosely packed.  

 
Classic Chimichurri

1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf (Italian) Parsley

8 cloves Garlic

3⁄4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1⁄4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 teaspoon Red Chile Flake

Pinch Sea Salt

Few twists fresh ground Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce.

Placed in an airtight, non-reactive container and refrigerated, it’ll last a week; frozen, it’s good for 90 days, easy.

 

Urban’s Chimichurri

1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf (Italian) Parsley

1/4 Bunch Cilantro

6 cloves Garlic

1 Hatch Chile, (Anaheim Pepper will work too)

3⁄4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1⁄4 Cup Champagne Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sweet Onion

1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1 teaspoon Lemon Thyme

1 teaspoon Turkish Oregano

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Pepper

Pinch Sea Salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce.

Placed in an airtight, non-reactive container and refrigerated, it’ll last a week; frozen, it’s good for 90 days, easy.

 

Red Chimichurri

1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf (Italian) Parsley

2 small ripe Tomatoes

6 cloves Garlic

1 sweet red Pepper

3⁄4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1⁄4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sweet Onion

1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Turkish Oregano

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Pepper

Pinch Sea Salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce.

Placed in an airtight, non-reactive container and refrigerated, it’ll last a week; frozen, it’s good for 90 days, easy.

 

Tomatillo Chimichurri

1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf (Italian) Parsley

4 ripe Tomatillos

1 small ripe Tomato

6 cloves Garlic

1-2 Jalapeño Chiles

3⁄4 Cup Avocado Oil

1⁄4 Cup Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sweet Onion

1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Pepper

Pinch Sea Salt

Roast tomatillos, tomatoes, and chiles under a broiler until skins are blistered.

Remove from heat and cool until they’re workable.

Remove skins, stems and seeds

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce.

Placed in an airtight, non-reactive container and refrigerated, it’ll last a week; frozen, it’s good for 90 days, easy.

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