With this gorgeous summer weather the last few weeks (can you believe it?) my tastes have turned to south of the border flavors. Specifically, chimichurri sauce.
I’ve seen chimichurri pop up on several menus lately and it’s a taste I love, tangy and vinaigrette-y.
Okay yes, it’s true, I do like some creamy sauces. In fact, Béarnaise is probably my most favorite sauce in the world, ever. If I get a chance to order it out, I do. (I’m also very lucky that Bob makes a great Béarnaise sauce too.)
But mostly, when it comes to sauces and dressings, I’m a vinaigrette kind of girl. And that’s vinaigrette on the side, too. Yup.
Chimichurri is one amazingly tangy fresh herb explosion. I’ve been thinking of it as pesto’s bad-ass cousin that goes great with a simple grilled steak (no surprise) but it really shines when the whole meal has a Latin twist, like with steak tacos.
I could be saying this because I’m on a bit of a taco kick right now. Bob and I recently got around to trying La Taqueria on Cambie, and we’re officially hooked. Also, lately we’ve also been catching up on a lot of episodes of Breaking Bad, which is filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
These tacos are far different from the ones I remember having as a kid. Mom would get a package of Old El Paso taco shells and we’d fill them with ground beef (probably seasoned with Old El Paso spice mix), tomato slices, shredded cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce.
And then, one or maybe two bites into it, the hard taco shell would explode into shards. The tomatoes would slide out the top and the ground beef would drip out the bottom, until all you were holding was a remnant of taco shell and a few shreds of cheese and lettuce. It was fun though. I mean come on, eating with your hands is always fun, right?
No, these are quite different tacos: Fresh, soft tortillas that don’t crumble. Steak instead of ground beef. And oh-so-tangy chimichurri sauce. They still are super messy, and leave us licking our fingers after every bite. A perfect summer dinner.
Aside from steak tacos, there are a lot of ways to use chimichurri sauce. Here are some ideas:
- sauce for grilled meat, chicken or fish
- sauce for grilled vegetables
- dipping sauce for bread
- spread for sandwiches, on its own or combined with mayo
- sauce for pasta: reserve some cooking liquid from the pasta to thin it out a little
There are a ton of variations on chimichurri sauce out there, but this is one I put together that we particularly liked. The cilantro and lime juice are less traditional, but go well with a Latin-themed meal. Feel free to substitute all parsley for the cilantro and use red wine vinegar for a more traditional chimichurri -- either way it still packs a punch!
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh oregano leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
- kosher salt to taste
- In a food processor with the blade attachment, place the parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, shallot and chili pepper flakes and process until combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula, then add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar/lime juice Process until combined.
- Add a little salt and taste for seasoning. If you want a little more tang, add the other tablespoon of vinegar/lime juice. If you want a runnier sauce, add the other tablespoon of olive oil.
- Pour sauce into a serving dish.
You can make this the day you're serving it, but it also keeps well in the fridge for about a week. We found the garlic flavor intensified after a few days.