Here I am for what is the first, and likely last, time this summer, since I am supposed to be having a baby some time this week (he doesn’t seem to want to come out any time soon). Don’t be sad, though! I expect that the recipes I will post in the future will be significantly easier than anything I’ve ever made, since I don’t think I’ll have too much free time in the coming months.
This recipe isn’t for a meal. Rather, it is for a condiment: chimichurri. This recipe served a few purposes. First, it allowed me to use up a bunch of herbs that had accumulated in my fridge and were otherwise going to end up in the garbage. Second, it allowed me to cook an easy, flavorful meal on the grill (read: outside and therefore not heating up my kitchen to 100 degrees). Did I mention that since it was on the grill, my husband actually did all the cooking? All I had to do was assemble this sauce. Easy, even for a very tired, very pregnant lady.
What is chimichurri, you might be wondering? It’s a condiment that has herbs, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, and is traditionally served with steak in Argentina. I’m not sure if there are specific requirements for which herbs/ingredients are supposed to be used; from some Google searching, it seems like parsley is a big one. If you know, by all means, please share. Otherwise, let’s just call what I am making a chimichurri, and not worry too much about details.
Once you make it, what do you do with it? I used it in a few different ways. I grilled steaks, just seasoned with salt and pepper, and then served this as a sauce on the side. I also used it as a marinade for eggplant and zucchini before grilling them. I even used some in a salad dressing (delish, by the way). As far as I’m concerned, it’s an all-purpose sauce.
I have a few pieces of advice for when to make this chimichurri. As the name indicates, the chimichurri uses garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are to garlic as scallions are to onions; long green stems with a mild garlic flavor. I think that’s the best way to describe them. These are available now at your local farmer’s market, so…make this soon (don’t worry, you can substitute regular garlic if garlic scapes aren’t available or in season). You should also think about making this, as I did, when you have a bunch of herbs sitting around in the fridge that need to be used. I recently made some Thai-style noodles that required cilantro, mint, and basil. Then, I ended up with lots of leftover herbs, and no plan to cook with them any time soon. What better to do then throw them all in the food processor and make something easy and great?
Garlic Scape Chimichurri
Serves: at least 4, probably more
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
3 garlic scapes, chopped into small pieces
small handful cilantro
about 15-20 mint leaves
10-15 basil leaves
small handful parsley
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Place the garlic scapes in the bowl of a food processor or mini-food processor. Roughly chop the herbs, and add them in. Pulse about 5 times, then add 1/3 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Pulse again, and check the consistency, aiming for a “thick vinaigrette”. Add more olive oil and vinegar (you can do this to taste; I ended up using 1/2 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Change it up:
- Use whichever fresh herbs you have on hand. However, be careful with herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, and other strongly flavored herbs; they might be overwhelming.
- Change the amount of herbs based on your personal tastes
- Add cumin, which is a common ingredient in many chimichurris
- Serve it as a condiment with steak, chicken, fish, portabella mushrooms, potatoes, etc.
- Use it to marinate vegetables (or meat)
- Add more olive oil and vinegar (or lemon juice) and use as a salad dressing