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Make Chimichurri for Big Flavor

Make The Green Sauce, Mom

Chimichurri made from fresh herbs.

Chimichurri made from fresh herbs in Carol’s garden.

 

Years ago, my son found a recipe for a “green sauce” that he loved. So, I made it for him frequently as he was growing up. I didn’t know it then and the recipe never referred to this name, but it was a variation of Chimichurri—a piquant sauce from South America made of herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and a little chili pepper— traditionally used on grilled meat, such as steak.

I have since lost that recipe. But as summer gets underway and my herb pots start flourishing—and with my love for bold flavors—I want this flavorful food in my diet.  I use parsley in my version, but I have seen Chimichurri made with a wide variety of herbs so feel free to vary yours to suit what’s growing in your herb pots or garden. The chlorophyll in the parsley keeps the Chimichurri looking green, so keep a little parsley in your recipe for that reason. But try also using some fresh oregano or basil or chives, depending on what’s available.

Chimichurri as Marinade in Addition to Sauce

One clever way to use Chimichurri is to reserve three-fourths of it to use as a sauce at serving time, but marinate your meat overnight in the remaining one-fourth (discard the marinade after you remove the meat). That way, your meat absorbs some of the flavors before grilling. As summer grilling season gets underway, you will use this sauce again and again. Enjoy!

Chimichurri

Adapted with permission from 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Wiley, 2008)

This is an excellent way to use herbs year-round, but especially in the summer when you may have them growing in your backyard. Chimichurri is naturally gluten-free and transforms a plain old steak into something special. But, if you’re vegetarian, I’ve even used it with tofu, so give it a try.

1 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, whole

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

 Place the parsley, oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper and in a food processor and pulse until combined but leave a few chunks for texture. Refrigerate until serving time, but let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

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