Thursday, March 31, 2022

Have You Tried Chimichurri?

Chimichurri Mise en Place - fast and simple!
Chimichurri is a fresh condiment originating from Argentina and Uruguay made from finely chopped fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar. It is a bright, tangy, fresh sauce traditionally used on grilled meats, but is good on almost anything and everything!! Try it tossed with steamed vegetables, with chicken, fish or shrimp, drizzled over eggs, used as a dressing for pasta salad, drizzled over pizza after baking, used as a sandwich spread with (or without) mayo. The possibilities are endless ... and it takes only 10 minutes to make!

Chimichurri - start to finish

Chimichurri is not Pesto, they may look similar ... they are both herbaceous, green sauces made with olive oil but they are not at all similar in flavor. Also, Chimichurri has no nuts or cheese making it a perfect, condiment for nut and dairy sensitivities, vegetarian, low carb, gluten free and Paleo diets.

 Some Chimichurri recipes use cilantro instead of oregano and some add smoked or hot paprika and shallots which are not authentic. I prefer the cilantro version for vegetables, salads and pizza, and the authentic oregano version for grilled meats. Although, the flavor of cilantro is an acquired taste for many.

Creamier sauce
For a creamier sauce, add everything into the food processor then pour the olive oil in while the machine is running. This will thicken the sauce slightly and blend it to creamy looking and smooth.

With grocery prices on the rise, why not add cilantro and Italian parsley to your herb garden this year? Chimichurri can be made all summer and frozen for future use to liven up your winter meals. It can be stored in a covered container in your fridge for up to 5 days or packed in small jars and given as gifts marked with the preparation date, best before date and freezing instructions.
If you have never heard of ... or tried this tangy, fresh sauce, what are you waiting for? 

Chimichurri with Cilantro        Yield: about 1 cup
1 cup fresh cilantro *see Notes below
Chimichurri drizzled over Vegetarian Pizza
1 cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley *see Notes
1 shallot 
3 large cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Thoroughly rinse the cilantro and Italian parsley several times. Pick out any bruised or yellow leaves, remove heavy stem ends. Peel shallot and garlic, roughly chop. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse to reduce the bulk of the herbs. Slowly pour in the olive oil and pulse to desired consistency. Stop periodically and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to marry before using.
Fresh and packaged for the freezer
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. For the freezer; package in 1/4 to 1/2 cup portions or freeze in an ice cube tray. Then store in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw only the amount needed.

Do not use dried herbs for this recipe, only fresh will do!
One 'bunch' of fresh cilantro or Italian parsley is about 1-1/2 cups each.

Until next time ... Bon App├ętit!

Recipe by Sally Rae
Photos by Sally Rae

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