Grilling, barbecuing, roasting and smoking, they’re more than cooking methods; for millions of people around the globe, they’re an essential part of their lifestyles.
Nothing compares to cooking with fire. It’s the preparation, the meat selection, friends and family coming over; grills bring people together. Once you hear the sizzling meat and you're overwhelmed by the enticing aromas of charred meat; once you pop open a good red wine or bring out a few cold beers, everything, for a moment, is just perfect.
There’s much to say about the art of grilling, but today we’re talking about an incredible out-door dining enhancer: chimichurri. The aromatic, oily sauce that has put Argentine asados up there with the best grilled meat on earth.
This is all you need to know about chimichurri.
Before we talk about one of the most exquisite sauces in the Southern Hemisphere, we must mention Asado.
Argentina is a vast country, it’s four times the size of Texas, and with over 44 million people, it has a larger population than California and Oregon combined. Traditions and customs vary widely in the South American country, but if something brings Argentines together, from the Amazon rain forest to the cold Patagonia, is the Asado.
Some of the finest beef on the planet grows freely in the wide Pampas, Argentina’s countryside, and becomes prime-quality meat that is grilled to perfection during lengthy evenings by the fire. That’s an asado right there.
Salads and empanadas are common sides for the fork-tender meat, but chimichurri takes it to another level.
Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce that enhances meat and many other dishes in Argentina. Although there are many variations, and every family has its own recipe, chimichurri is always based on corn oil and vinegar. Combined, they become a light vinaigrette that lubricates the meat while adding an enticing tanginess that lifts the flavors of food.
Corn oil is proffered, but high-quality extra virgin olive oil is also widely used. Wine vinegar is a must, red or white; it's a delicious byproduct of Argentina’s fantastic wine scene.
Then there're the aromatics and herbs. Finely chopped parsley gives color and freshness to chimichurri and minced garlic adds depth of flavor. Chili pepper flakes (not too spicy!) add color and excitement to the mixture and dried oregano gives finesse to the Argentine sauce.
Amongst other variations, the red chimichurri, which includes tomatoes and red bell peppers, is almost as popular as the original one.
What to do with chimichurri?
There are many uses for chimichurri. It’s a great steak sauce, so make sure it’s available on the table, chimichurri can be used to marinate meat too, or to baste the meat as it cooks.
Other dishes, from salads to empanadas, can benefit from a spoonful of the delectable sauce; chimichurri's versatility is impressive, so you won’t find it hard to enjoy it with anything. Your chimichurri jar will be your favorite item in the fridge.
If you’re ready, let’s make authentic chimichurri.
Authentic Argentine Chimichurri Recipe
2-3 Clove of garlic.
1/3 cup. Fresh parsley.
1/6 cup. Ground chili (The one we use in Argentina is not so spicy.)
1/6 cup. Dry Oregano.
Corn oil: As much as necessary to give chimichurri a liquid sauce texture.
1/4 of the amount of oil of red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar works too.)
Salt to taste.
1- Finely chop the parsley and mince the garlic.
2- Put the garlic and the parsley inside a jar.
3 - Add oregano and ground chili.
4 - Once we have all the ingredients in the jar, we add the oil and then the vinegar.
5 - Finally, we add salt, and we mix with a spoon.
If you make the recipe a day earlier and let it rest, it will have a stronger taste.
Try adding a spoon of chimichurri to some mayonnaise for a revolutionary spread.
Always keep refrigerated.