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Killer Chimichurri Sauce

With grilling season in full swing, it’s time to think about garnishing your grilled food with something delicious that goes beyond bottled barbeque sauce. Do yourself a favor and make this sauce. It will keep (in the fridge) for a week, at least, and can be used on everything – eggs for breakfast, a spread for cold meats in sandwiches and wraps, as a dressing for boiled new potatoes or as a dip for raw vegetables, or any grilled protein from the land, sea or air.  Trust me, this sauce is killer.

The greatest condiment ever to accompany grilled steak is an authentic Argentinean chimichurri sauce, a cross between vinaigrette and a green salsa verde. This intensely delicious sauce should be your go-to sauce for the entire grilling season and beyond. I use it on shrimp, beef, chicken, fish, lamb, potatoes, grilled veggies and grain salads like farro and quinoa side dishes.

With a few bunches of fresh herbs from your local farmer’s market (or your own garden) and your trusty food processor (which does all the work) you can pulse together a distinctive, bracingly strong sauce in the time it takes to preheat a charcoal grill.

This recipe makes about two cups of sauce.

 

What You’ll Need

A large metal bowl
A salad spinner or kitchen towels
A big sharp knife
A food processor with a sharp blade
Two measuring cups
A rubber spatula, to get every last drop of this sauce
A clean, flat, sanitized cutting board – the bigger, the better

Ingredients – The Fresher, The Better

1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch cilantro
10 sprigs mint
5 sprigs basil
5 cloves garlic, peeled (the freshest and hottest you can find, preferably from a farmer’s market)
1 red pepper or 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

2 jalepeno peppers
1 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar (see my note on vinegar below)
½ cup white wine
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt

 

The Procedure

1. Grill or roast the red pepper and jalepenos until blistered and well charred. When cool enough to handle, peel and seed the peppers – no stems, seeds or skin. Finely dice the roasted red pepper, and set aside.

2. Wash and dry the herbs in multiple changes of cold water (two times is better than one). Pick the leaves from the stems as best you can. Brown leaves and stems are bad. Tender green herb leaves are good.

3. Cram all the herbs, the garlic cloves, and the jalepenos into the bowl of your food processor. Pour in the vinegar, along with a good tablespoon each of black pepper and salt.

4. Pulse several times to roughly chop everything together. With the motor running, incorporate all the olive oil in a slow steady stream through the spout in the top of the food processor.  Stop the machine and give the mixture a good scrape down with your spatula; pulse once or twice more.

5. Taste the chimichurri sauce for seasoning and be prepared to be blown away. Have a swig of white wine, and add the rest of the wine to the sauce. Pulse again and pour the sauce into your big metal bowl.  Fold in the finely diced roasted red pepper.

What you end up with is a superstrong green sauce/vinaigrette speckled with little pieces of red pepper (no red pepper, no problem; use crushed red pepper flakes instead, or omit the red pepper altogether.)

Serve with grilled New York steaks, or anything from the grill, and use it all week long!

 

Chef Willie’s Note

Any good quality vinegar can be switched in for the ½ cup red wine vinegar, which will change the flavor profile of your sauce. Try sherry wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Acid is good for this sauce; even lime juice works really well. Try different vinegars each time you make it.