Last weekend, I was in Chicago for my cousin’s wedding and my mother and I went to get our nails and hair done. My manicurist was a woman from Buenos Aires and we quickly got to gossiping about our love lives, talking about Argentine tango (I just took a class with my boyfriend, she and her current husband are avid dancers), my recent discovery of fantastic alfajores and of course, chimichurri.
Chimichurri, a sort of South American pesto, is a ubiquitous sauce and marinade in Argentina is usually spooned over steaks or chicken. I’ve read accounts that suggested the name derives from locals who were unable to pronounce the name “Jimmy McCurry,” the Irishmen who supposedly invented it in the 19th century, but that seems like a false etymology to me.
Anyway, Rita, the manicurist, told me about how she and her husband are constantly trying different recipes and tweaking their own and ever since we talked about it, I’ve been dying to try my own hand at it. It’s very simple and I love the fresh, flavorful, garlicky taste.
While grocery shopping for dinner last night, my boyfriend suggested we make fish. It seemed a bit unorthodox to put chimichurri on fish, but hey, as far as risk-taking in the kitchen goes, this wasn’t a huge one. It was like wearing white after Labor Day. Maybe the exceptionally traditional or pedantic might consider it an offense, but I’m hardly a maverick for doing it.
The only slightly annoying thing about making chimichurri is that it’s a bit time-consuming. As Rita said, you have to gather the parsley “leaf by leaf, leaf by leaf.” So if picking enough individual leaves to make up a packed cup isn’t your thing, then you should stop reading now. I happened to find it relaxing and satisfying in the way that I enjoy plucking my eyebrows. (Is that too gross a comparison to make when talking about food?)
Here’s my first-time chimichurri (adapted from… [sigh] Epicurious… not Rita. I should’ve gotten a recipe from her before I left.):
1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree.
I was planning on serving the fish over rice but then realized I forgot to cook the rice while I was spending all that time laboriously plucking individual parsley leaves. We were both too hungry to wait, so we made some pasta. I had a lot of chimichurri left over and am planning to put it on everything I eat until it’s gone. Mmmm…