I can’t get enough of chimichurri. After trying it for the first time in an Argentinian restaurant over a decade ago, I found myself slathering the tangy condiment on nearly everything I ordered, from bread to potatoes, churrasco to empanadas. I started buying my favorite version of it from a local carnicería and for years I ate the bottled stuff, even though it’s silly easy to make.
Now that I have a garden where I grow half the ingredients in this sauce, there’s no excuse not to make my own chimichurri. Every Argentine I’ve met has his own way of making it — whether it’s flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley, hand-chopped or food-processed. Sometimes there’s a fresh chile added. Sometimes a spoonful of shallots.
But however it’s concocted, one thing is for certain: The stars of this sauce are parsley and garlic. Chimichurri has been bastardized a number of ways in American cuisine (even so far as being called “Argentinian pesto” or the “ketchup of Argentina” — which any Argentine will adamantly tell you is not true) but this recipe is pure, authentic Argentina. (Actually, authentic chimichurri uses dried oregano, but fresh herbs are too good for me to pass up.)
The garlicky sauce famous to the Land of Silver is traditionally drizzled over meats in Argentinian asado (barbecue) and is sometimes used as a marinade. I also like to spread it over roasted vegetables, or even mix it into a homemade vinaigrette. And after you make yourself a jar of chimichurri, you’ll find plenty of other uses for it, too.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups packed parsley, minced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
I like to use my Giant of Italy parsley for making chimichurri. The sprigs are huge and the leaves are so easy to pull off the stems. Whichever parsley you use, make sure it’s the freshest you can find.
I chop everything by hand as I like a chunky texture, but you can also add the fresh herbs to a food processor, pulse until fine, then add the red pepper flakes, olive oil, and vinegar.
Use more or less olive oil as needed, depending on how much parsley you end up with. Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.
Decant the sauce into your container of choice. Let the chimichurri do its thing overnight, out on the counter, as the flavor will intensify the longer it sits. Perfectly aged chimichurri is a deep army green and I’ve been known to squirrel away a jar for a week or more before I even open it.
My favorite has always been the sauce that sits in a metal tin on the table at an Argentinian restaurant, all brown and murky looking, and you have no idea how long it’s been there or when it was last refilled but it tastes amazing… That’s the look you’re trying to achieve here!