December 18th, 2014
Chimichurri – A World Cup Winning Green Sauce
This is my take on the popular Argentine Chimichurri parsley based salsa verde that’s no doubt one of the best sauces not only for grilled steaks but also for all kinds of grilled meat, fish and vegetables. It enhances your grilling experience and it feels like a pleasant visit at an herb garden. Before you enjoy ideally you let the sauce chill for some time for the flavors to develop and merge.
When there’s one nation that knows how to enhance your grilled steak then Argentina. I prepared this sauce the first time for a family grilling. It was even to my own surprise a huge hit. While I expected it to be good and herbilicious certainly I didn’t expect it to be this impressive.
The grilling was the day before the huge World Cup finale 2014 between Argentina and Germany. So when I told that this Chimichurri sauce is of Argentinian origin, I then had to be remembered how ‘dangerous’ that was. Dangerous as in superstitious no-good-luck.
World Cup winning sauce
What a dramatic finale that was. A match between two giants. My heart was pounding like crazy. Seriously I almost couldn’t bare that tension. Another World Cup title for Germany was overdue after the last one was received in 1990 and after playing incredibly enjoyable football for the last ten years.
The thought of losing again was tough. A win would also finally keep all the skeptics quieter for once and lower the tension that’s been also partially fed by the media. 90 minutes of regular gaming time wasn’t enough for the decision so 30 minutes overtime were necessary. Then in the 113th minute Germany finally shot the winning goal. The rest is history.
So, Chimichurri was not a bad choice at all. (For everyone who is not into international football, World Cup is huge huge deal. It’s much more than just a sports event.)
The beauty of simplicity
There are only a few ingredients and they are all quite simple. Yet the end result is astoundingly amazing. No need of any fancy ingredients. It shows that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. Vinegar really gives it a pleasantly surprising kick. It’s like a firework of joint flavors in your mouth.
Modification in the name of better breath
Like with most recipes where the garlic stays raw I either omit or modify it by giving them a gentle roast in a skillet with some olive oil because of the otherwise pesky garlic breath. Also removing the shoots especially when turned green helps and is recommended. You can use more gloves of garlic then when otherwise used raw. The end result was always pretty convincing as well. The parsley in this sauce is known to reduce (not completely eliminate) garlic breath because of its high level of chlorophyll. Feel free to use whatever works for you (and your peers). Just again a reassurance that the end result using roasted garlic (instead of raw) was pretty convincing.
The original sauce is not prepared in a food processor but more likely prepared in a mortar or minced by hand. Since the end result was absolutely convincing I can only recommend using a food processor. Consider it as the contemporary spin on this sauce. Unlike with some power blenders the consistency produced by a food processor will never become one homogeny puree but always a sauce with intended little bits and pieces.
- Generous bunch flat leaf parsley (aka Italian parsley)
- 5-6 garlic cloves, halved, stems and shoots removed
- 2 TS olive oil
- 1 big shallot or 1 small onion, quartered
- Generous ¼ ts red pepper flakes
- 1 ts dried oregano
- ¼ ts salt
- 1/8 ts black pepper
- 1 TS lime or lemon juice
- Up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
- 2-3 TS red or white whine vinegar
- ts = teaspoon (5ml), TS = tablespoon (15ml)
- Remove the tougher stems at the bottom of the parsley by holding the bunch of parsley in an angle at the bottom with leafs touching the cutting board (around 45 degrees) then with a knife shave off the leafs from the stems. Keeping the softer upper stems are totally fine. Then place them in a food processor.
- Now in a cold skillet add garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat up at medium low. Let them soften and become slightly translucent for about 7-8 minutes. Then let them cool down before you add them in the food processor including the garlic-flavored oil.
- Place all the rest of your dry ingredients (shallots, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper) in the food processor and blitz for a few seconds to break them down.
- Now pour in the liquids (lime juice and vinegar) and start with half of the olive oil first, pulse to combine and slowly increasing the amount until you get a smooth and (slightly) drippy consistency.
- Store the sauce in a glass container and chill it in the fridge for at least two hours or even better overnight or a whole day for flavors to develop and merge.
- The Usual (cutting board, chef’s knife).
- Spatula – for scraping the sides of food processor
- Food processor or mortar and pestle, blender, emersion blender or mince by hand.