Chimichurri

43 Comments

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.

Chimichurri

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grindings black pepper

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Combine all of these in a small bowl, then add:

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

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Then stir in:

1/2 chopped parsley, loosely packed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed

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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.

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After about 30 minutes, I turned the steaks over and added more chimichurri.

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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.
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Then I drizzled some of the chimichurri sauce over the steaks.
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The freshness of the chimichurri sauce, from the cilantro and parsley, plus the garlic, is a perfect foil against the mellow, sweet steak. It was a marriage made in food heaven!
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* 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.

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43 thoughts on “Chimichurri

  1. Very popular “sauce” in Brazil too, the barbecue places called “rodizios” in which you eat meat until you drop (almost literally), chimichurri is always served in a small bowl at each table. As far as I remember, parsley is the herb of choice, there are too many cilantro haters out there for the restaurants to risk losing business ;-) (I love cilantro, so I’ll take it either way!)

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    • Interesting point about the cilantro. That’s probably exactly why they stick with parsley, which is definitely good, too. Thanks for your input – I was excited to see what you’d have to say!

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  2. I love chimichurri. Your recipe looks fresh, clean and SO flavorful with the herbs, garlic and great oil. Chimichurri is great on eggs, too, or even tossed with spiral pasta. Such a versatile sauce. I love your last photo, Mimi, with all of the fabulous, bright colors. Best – Shanna

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  3. It’s seems so obvious to marinate the steaks in the prepared chimichurri sauce, however, I’ve always just used it to finish a dish. I like the idea of the shrimp and the steak together…that would be a beautiful dish.

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  4. My sister makes a mean chimichurri, and I’ve often enjoyed it in her company but have never made it myself. Your photos of steak and chimichurri is making me drool!

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  5. Hi Mimi, thanks for stopping by my blog so I could discover yours!! Wow, love it!!! First of all, the layout – so cool, very original! ;-) And then, the recipes, fantastic! And I love your photos too – so appetizing! I am really glad I found your blog! Thank you for sharing all the great recipes with us! Sylvia

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