I’ve made chimichurri a few times over the years when I’ve prepared South American*-inspired meals for company. I even published a post on a South American salad I made for one of these dinners a while back. For that specific meal, I grilled skirt steaks and served both green and red chimichurri sauces. I preferred the green.
But other than that I haven’t paid much attention to chimichurri, which originated in Argentina. I only see it associated with meat, which is so quintessentially South American. Grilled meat. Lots of meat. So I decided to make chimichurri again and really focus on its goodness and, of course, I decided to use it on steaks. I don’t want to rock the South American boat here.
So what exactly is chimichurri? It’s a little different, in that it’s almost like a pesto, with the freshness of parsley and sometimes cilantro thrown in as well, but with the difference that there are no nuts. So it’s more liquid than pesto, and it’s not a puréed mixture. What you get is essentially an oil and vinegar dressing, that includes chopped green herbs and garlic. Delicious, although nothing really like pesto at all!
So I’m not being very creative here using this lovely green sauce, but it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve made chimichurri, you don’t care if you ever have it any other way other than schmeared on a steak. It’s that good. But I can definitely see it on shrimp as well. Or poultry. Or toast. For breakfast.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grindings black pepper
Combine all of these in a small bowl, then add:
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Then stir in:
1/2 chopped parsley, loosely packed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed
Mix everything together well.
Today I wanted to use the chimichurri for a marinade as well as a “finishing” sauce so to speak, so I placed two filets on a plate, and covered them with a generous amount of chimichurri.
After about 30 minutes, I turned the steaks over and added more chimichurri.
Before cooking the steaks, I wiped off the chimichurri sauce. The tops and bottoms of the steaks were oily, so I didn’t have to pat them dry. But I did add a little oil to the skillet first before searing the steaks.
After cooking to medium rare and letting them rest, I sliced the steaks, and placed them on a bed of sauteed spinach with tomatoes and onions.
Then I drizzled some of the chimichurri sauce over the steaks.
* I know, South American inspiration for a meal is a bit all-consuming since it’s a continent, but there are aspects to South America that stand out from a culinary perspective. And those typically are more Argentinian and Brazilian in origin. The meals revolve around meat, but there are also beans and grains and lots of green. If you’ve never delved into the cuisines of South america, I suggest you look into them. I’ve just barely broken the surface…
note: This recipe is perfect to me. I love the addition of the dried oregano and crushed red pepper. If you want a thicker sauce, whether for use as a marinade or for serving, purée it. I know that goes against the tradition of the fresh herbs and garlic in the oil and vinegar mixture, but then at least the parsley and cilantro leaves don’t get stuck in your teeth. I think it’s a reasonable option. You can also cut back on the volume of vinegar as well. It’s personal choice, as long as you don’t change what the chimichurri is all about.