Friday, October 22, 2010

Herb "Chimichurri" Sauce: Dressing Up Dinner

My younger sister started college this fall. She's the last in my family to leave home: a pretty big deal for a family as close as mine. When she comes home for the weekend, we all get together for dinner at my parents' house. She's been home a few weekends, visiting friends, for fall break and, of course, for my wedding. My mom has been cooking big family dinners my entire life but recently she has started deferring to me for recipe ideas and help in the preparation. I always helped my mom cook when I was younger--a lot of what I know about cooking comes from her. But as I've been doing more cooking on my own, I have been able to return the favor and give my mom some pointers and ideas for new things to make.
For my sister's most recent trip home, she requested that I make an herb sauce I had made for a previous family dinner. I hadn't thought much of it the first time as it was basically a way to use up left over fresh herbs before they went bad. The sauce is a nod to the Argentinian green sauce, known as chimichurri, that is generally served over steak. We were grilling steak and shrimp, so the sauce was an easy accompaniment to liven up the meal. I made the sauce the first time as sort of an afterthought but it turned out to be a great alternative to a general steak sauce. The bright green color and fresh taste of the herbs adds a nice touch to any grilled meat. We went with steak and shrimp but chicken or pork would work well too. The vinegar and lime juice gives the sauce a nice acidity that contrasts the richer flavors of the grilled meat.

Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, stems removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional, if you don't like the bite of raw garlic, leave this out)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
Roughly chop or tear the parsley and cilantro.
Pulse the herbs together in a food processor to break down.
Add in vinegar and combine.
While the motor is running, stream in about 1/2 cup olive oil.
Squeeze in juice of 1 lime, season with salt and pepper.
The sauce should be relatively smooth and not too thick. Add more olive oil if necessary.

For a printable recipe click here

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