CHIMICHURRI – THE AVENGER OF CONDIMENTS

Anyone that has dallied in chimichurri, knows that it’s a green, herbaceous tangy sauce with Argentinian roots that typically is an accompaniment to grilled meats.

In Argentina, chimichurri is copiously consumed in restaurants and households alike, as it’s presented with bread as a dipping sauce awaiting the main meal. Much as aioli is showcased in Spain and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) with splashes of Balsamic vinegar is served in Italian locales to be consumed with chunks of artisan bread.

In the creative department, the atypical pairing of this condiment is with grilled meats, but chimichurri can tango equally well with poultry, seafood and fish. Your thoughts will take flight and out of their own accord make chimichurri the star of the show during the week.

And the beauty to this sauce, is that it can be made the day ahead, which is optimal really, to allow the flavors to marry. If making ahead, always remove from the refrigerator to allow to come to room temp before serving.

The use of a blender or food processor will provide that creamy and well blended consistency that this sauce needs and what ties it all together is a good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), so don’t skimp of buying a good quality bottle.

 

GRILLED STRIP STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI

 

One thinks of chimichurri as the condiment that elevates red meat. If you haven’t tried it yet, you have no idea what you are missing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 12 oz New York Strip steaks

CHURRI SAUCE

 

1 cup of flat leaf parsley – stems removed and leaves finely chopped

½ TSP Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

1 cup chopped cilantro – stems removed and leaves finely chopped

¼ cup of red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves – very finely chopped

2 shallots – very finely chopped

½ TSP honey

1 green onion – very thinly sliced

2 TBSP chopped capers – drained

1 cup EVOO

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

Remove the steaks from the fridge brush with some olive oil and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper and allow to sit at room temp for about 1 hour.

Place the vinegar in a bowl, add the honey and salt and mix to dissolve the honey. Add the chopped shallots with the red wine vinegar and let them sit in the vinegar for about 20 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Preferably make it 2-3 hours ahead to allow the flavors to marry.

Heat up a grill pan or an outdoor grill and sear the steaks for about 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove and allow them to sit for about 5 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with the chimichurri on the side or drizzled over.

 

OVEN ROASTED LAMB CHOPS WITH MINT CHIMICHURRI

 

The Brits have the whole lamb chop thing down to an artform – especially with the mint jelly sauce that typically supplements these juicy wonders. For this take, the mint sauce is copiloted with a touch of jalapeño which provides a subtle piquant addition that elevates these chops to lamb nirvana!

 

NOTE:Ensure that the racks of lamb are left whole and the chops aren’t removed from the rack. Roasting lamb in the oven is easy-peasy, however, if you have the chops individually removed, they will dry out on the oven.

 

 

PRE-HEAT OVEN 450F

 

2 racks of lamb (about 1 ½ LBS each – left whole)

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

SAUCE

1 small shallot – rough chopped

½ jalapeño (seeded) of a ½ TSP of red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove – peeled and rough chopped

2 TBSP of red wine vinegar

2 cups of mint leaves – hard stems removed

1 TSP of honey

½ TSP Kosher salt (or to taste)

½ cup of EVOO

In a blender, add all the ingredients for the chimichurri, omitting the EVOO. Blend to puree scrapping the sides of the processor. Add the EVOO in a stream with the motor running, to achieve the right consistency. Taste and re-season according to taste – it will need more salt.

Salt and pepper the lamb racks. Add about 2 TBSP of olive oil to an ovenproof pan. When the oil is shimmering, sear the lamb racks, fat side down, turning once. Transfer skillet into oven and roast for about 12-13 minutes, for medium rate (meat thermometer temp to 145F for medium rare, 160F for medium). Remove the racks from the skillet and transfer to a carving board, wait for about 5 minutes and slice each chop individually.

 

CHIC THIGHS WITH CHIMICHURRI

 

 

The usage of thighs delivers the juiciest rendition. Breast is optional, for the non-dark meat lovers.

 

 

 

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F

 

10 chicken thighs – bone in – skin on

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

CHURRI SAUCE

 

1 cup flat leaf parsley

½ cup of fresh oregano

1 cup of fresh mint leaves

3 TSP lemon zest

½ cup of fresh lemon juice

½ TSP honey

2 garlic cloves – rough chopped

½ TSP red pepper flakes

½ TSP Kosher salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

½ TSP cumin powder

1 cup of EVOO

 

Place all the ingredients save the EVOO in a food processor or a blender. Blend to obtain a creamy puree and then add the EVOO in a stream. Taste for seasonings.

In a platter place the thighs and coat with about 6-7 TBSP of the chimichurri. Allow to marinate at least two hours, refrigerated. Remove from the fridge about 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking.

Place the thighs in a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes uncovered till juices run clear – (meat thermometer 160F). Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle the remaining chimichurri over the chicken.

 

BRAISED PORK SHOULDER WITH BASIL CHIMICHURRI

 

 

The results considering the simplicity of this dish are stellar. The rich and melt in your mouth pork is the perfect pairing with the, fresh bright and zesty chimichurri.

 

 

 

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 275F

 

1 5 LB pork shoulder – fat trimmed and cut into 5 equal potions

2 large onions – coarsely chopped

3 sprigs of time

6 gallic cloves

2 bay leaves

2 TBSP coarse grain Grey Poupon mustard

1 cup of chicken stock

2 TBSP brown sugar

1 TSP of Spanish smoked paprika

1 cup of dark ale

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

CHURRI

1 large shallot – finely chopped

1 cup of EVOO

2 TBSP fresh oregano – finely chopped

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cups of basil – finely chopped

½ cup of lemon juice

½ TSP honey

½ TSP kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 TBSP lemon zest

 

Season pork with salt and pepper. In a cast iron casserole, heat up about 2 TBSP of olive oil and sear the pork pieces about 2 minutes per side. In a separate bowl, mix the liquids, and all the other ingredients. Pour it over the pork and cover with the lid and bake for about 2 ½ hours or till the pieces are falling apart tender.

Remove the pork onto a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the liquid and return to the casserole and reduce by half.

Serve pork in a bowl spooning some of the sauce over, and the chimichurri on the side with some slices of fresh lime.

 

FLANK STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI

 

The chimichurri here is extra garlicky and the umami factor is the addition of capers. Flank steak is the perfect cut for grilling and to accompany this sauce because of the bold and rich flavor of the meat.

 

 

 

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F

2 1 LB flank steaks

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

CHURRI SAUCE

3 Cups of flat leaf parsley leaves

4 garlic cloves – coarsely chopped

1 shallot – coarsely chopped

2 TBSP of sherry vinegar

½ TSP honey

3 TBSP water

½ TSP kosher salt

1 TBSP drained capers

½ cup of EVOO

Pinch of red pepper flakes

 

Pulse the ingredients for the chimichurri to obtain a smooth paste in a food processor. Drizzle the EVOO with the motor running. Taste for seasonings and remove sauce to a bowl letting it sit at room temp prior to serving.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temp for about an hour with some salt and pepper.

Heat about 2 TBSP of olive oil in an oven proof skillet (preferably cast iron) and sear the steaks for about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet into the preheated oven and roast for about 15 minutes for medium rare.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing them across the grain. Transfer to a platter and drizzle the sauce over.

 

BAKED SALMON WITH ASIAN CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

 

This is an elevated take on chimichurri. It’s phenomenal with any fish, halibut and salmon are my go-to choices. It’s a cinch to make and it keeps refrigerated up to a week, perfect for a week day dinner.

 

 

 

 

4 6 oz salmon fillets

 

CHURRI SAUCE

2 TBSP cup of low sodium soy sauce

2 green onions

½ cup of cilantro leaves

½ cup of chopped basil

½ cup of mint

3 TBSP EVOO

1 TSP toasted sesame oil

1 TBSP rice wine vinegar

2 TBSP lime juice

½ TSP honey

½ TBSP fish sauce

1 TBSP Hoisin sauce

1 TBSP ginger Paste

½ jalapeño – seeds removed

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F

Add the cilantro, mint, basil, garlic, ginger paste, green onions and jalapeño and pulse till coarsely chopped. Scrape side and add sesame oil, hoisin, rice wine vinegar, honey, lime juice, fish sauce, soy and EVOO.  Blend well together and place the churri into a bowl. Set aside.  Check for seasonings and adds some salt if needed (the hoisin, fish sauce and soy are already high in sodium so be careful with the salt).

Place the salmon fillets on an oven proof dish. Add some of the churri sauce and allow to marinate at room temperature for about 45-50 minutes.

Bake uncovered for about 15 -15 minutes till the salmon is no longer pink and flakes easily with a fork. Spoon the rest of the churri sauce over the fish or serve in a bowl to pass around the table.

 

RED CHIMICHURRI

 

The addition of roasted pepper and roasted tomatoes makes this sauce off the charts good. It pairs beautifully with chicken, red meat, lamb or seafood. It’s delightful you’ll be eating it by the spoonful!

 

 

 

2 large tomatoes – quartered

1 large red bell pepper – quarter

½ cup of red onion – chopped very finely

½ cup of red

1 cup of flat leaf parsley

½ cup of EVOO

1 ½ TSP of unseasoned rice wine vinegar

½ TSP crushed red pepper flakes

½ TSP Kosher salt

½ TSP ground cumin

½ TSP Spanish smoked paprika

½ TSP dried oregano

 

PREHEAT OVEN 400F

Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the tomatoes and red bell pepper drizzled with some salt, fresh cracked pepper and olive oil.  Roast for about 25 minutes till soft and charred in some spots. Allow to cool and transfer to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Puree and check for seasonings.

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