December 10, 2007

Never Too Chilly for Chimichurri

Prior to this year, I had only had a true chimichurri — the famous Argentinean “sauce” for the country’s legendary grass-fed steaks and other meats -- once, at an Argentinean restaurant in Washington, D.C. It was good, but, to be honest, far from memorable.

Well, when we got some grass-fed beef earlier this summer, I wanted to try my hand at a chimichurri to accompany it. A quick Google brought me to a recipe by renowned Miami chef – and occasional guest on Top Chef – Michelle Bernstein. I made some modifications, which I included in brackets next to each ingredient. The results, given how simple the recipe is, were excellent. I made it again on Sunday to put on top of some small New York strip steaks from So’Journey Farms.

Nothing against the steaks, because they were very tender and quite delicious, but grass-fed is definitely a different taste than most Americans are used to. So some sort of sauce to tame the beef’s aggressive flavor is almost necessary, and this chimichurri is ideally suited to that purpose.

Traditional chimichurri

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced [2 large garlic cloves; 4 just seems like WAY too much]
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper [1 heaping teaspoon]
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of top-quality extra-virgin olive oil [Start with one-third cup and, if it seems to cover most of what you’ve got, you can stick with that]

Blend the parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until until smooth and then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, pour in the olive oil, and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

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