Chimichurri, a fresh herb sauce, is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats and vegetables. Like all good recipes, there are many variants, although the authentic Argentinian version calls only for parsley, garlic, oregano, and red chilies finely chopped in vinegar and oil. Yet the word chimichurri is most likely of Basque origin and means ‘a mixture,’ so feel free to build this sauce with fresh herbs you might have on hand. In the Basque region near southern France, it is common to see thyme substituted for the oregano, and a handful of cilantro thrown in for good measure.
In high school, I was invited to many Basque barbeques where chimichurri was commonplace. Cilantro and parsley were used in almost equal proportions, and oregano was added only when it was fresh. On occasion, ground cumin was added in small amounts, which gives the sauce a little more depth of flavor. Leave out the optional ingredients and, with the exception of the cilantro, you have a what is pretty close to an authentic Argentine recipe. However, if you like cilantro, add in a bunch. It will probably turn out closer to the Basque-style original.
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Cup parsley
- 1 Cup cilantro
- ¼ Cup oregano (optional)
- ¼ Teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Vegetable or Olive Oil (to consistency)
Finely chop the herbs and spices and place in a bowl. Add the oil and vinegar and mix. For a more emulsified consistency, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender. Enjoy with grilled fish, meats, and vegetables.