By Heidi Allison
Chimichurri is an iconic South American fresh herb sauce that is ubiquitous in Argentina and Uruguay, and is classically paired with barbecued or grilled red meat. Also known as “Argentinean pesto”, this versatile, uncooked green sauce is also used as a marinade, brushed onto foods as they cook, or served on the side as a table condiment.
Traditionally made from seven core ingredients—fresh parsley, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive, red chili pepper and salt — regional variations include fresh lemon juice, sage, thyme, red onion and rosemary. While conventionally paired with grilled ribeye or flat-iron steak, chimichurri also shines on eggs, flatbreads, soups, potatoes, rice, chicken, and fish — even batter-fried tofu! If using on roasted sweet potatoes instead of butter, add a pinch of ground chipotle chili powder to the mix, which imparts a back note of smoky heat—a lovely complement to the sweet taste of the tuber. Whatever flavor profile you choose, chimichurri is best served at room temperature.
Using a food processor or blender, this sauce comes together in minutes. If you don't have either small appliance, finely chop the fresh herbs by hand, or pound in a mortar and pestle before adding the oil. If using a high-speed blender, take care not to over process it—this will result in a thin sauce versus the slightly chunky, thick-textured sauce you are looking for in the finished dish.
1 large bunch of parsley, stems removed, about 1 cup tightly packed
3 Tbs. fresh oregano, leaves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/6 cup red onion, large dice
2 Tbs. lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1 red Fresno Pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Spanish in this recipe)
Add the parsley, oregano, black pepper, garlic, red onion, Fresno chili, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar to a food processor or blender, and pulse till chopped.
Add olive oil and blend until combined. Allow to sit at least 15 minutes before serving to allow flavors to “marry”.
If storing in the fridge, add a thin film of olive oil over the top, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Keeps about 3 days.