Mary Beth Clark

Culinary Educator · Consultant · Author
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Chimichurri Sauce

www.marybethclark.com

Chimichurri Sauce is fresh, tart, and sassy. Classically, this uncooked sauce is made with fresh parsley leaves, a mild, soothing green herb spiked by another green herb, oregano, and assertive amounts of garlic, red vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper. Fresh cilantro or coriander leaves can be substituted entirely for parsley or included as a portion of the blend suiting your taste. Experiment with other herbs, too, such as calamint, known as nepitella, or Syrian oregano, included in za'atar. I like adding a few sprigs of Mexican pipicha, tasting incredibly similar to cilantro but with lemony overtones and a fennel finish.

With several variations on this sauce available to the cook, consider how you will serve it before preparing it. For example, coarsely chopped herbs and red onion elevate hearty main ingredients, such as grilled steaks or burgers, into mouth-watering, juicy goodness. Scrumptious. Finely chopped herbs and red onion enhance smooth texture, such as avocado, and blend in well when paired with several ingredients as in avocado crispbread or toast.

I recommend using this chef's trick for making the best Chimichurri: Marinate the red wine vinegar, red onion, garlic, and salt together before making the sauce. Do this and it connects ingredients in a refined way, adding extra depth of flavor. Make the sauce a few hours before serving or cover and refrigerate up to two days before serving.

Chimichurri Sauce is used as a marinade, a dressing, and a sauce. When paired with beef and lamb, especially grilled steak and burgers, they become stellar, reaching new heights in flavor. Poached eggs, Halloumi cheese, fresh tomatoes, roasted red peppers, are just a few other main ingredients that benefit from this incredibly versatile sauce.
 

Makes 1 cup (235 ml) sauce.

Parsley Chimichurri Sauce:
1 large bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (4 ounces or 115 g) (Volume: 1 cup (235 ml) leaves firmly packed then chopped)
2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (Volume: 10 ml to 30 ml)
OR
Parsley-Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce: Use any amount of parsley, cilantro, pipicha to equal 1 cup (235 ml) packed volume
1 large bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (4 ounces or 115 g) (Volume: 1 cup (235 ml) leaves firmly packed then chopped)
Fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
Fresh pipicha sprigs, calamint, or Syrian oregano to taste, optional

Red Wine Vinegar Mixture:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar (6% acidity)
1 thin slice red onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves or as many as you like, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or coarse sea salt (Volume: 2.5 ml)

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil or as needed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice (1/2 large lemon)
Ground black pepper to taste
Ground cayenne red pepper or chopped fresh hot chili pepper to taste, optional
 

1. Rinse the herbs under cool running water and drain. While draining the herbs, make the Red Wine Vinegar mixture.
For optimum flavor, pour the red wine vinegar into a small bowl. Add the red onion, garlic cloves, and salt. Marinate together for 20 to 30 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients. If you do not believe the power of combining these few ingredients ahead of time, taste the vinegar after marinating. It is delicious, making your efforts taste so much better than simply throwing all ingredients together at the same time into a blender or food processor.

2. Separate the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems or save for another use. Leaves: Either hand chop or process in a machine. Combine the fresh herbs with the Red Wine Vinegar Mixture and stir well. Pour in the olive oil and stir well or process to emulsify. Add the fresh lemon juice, black pepper, and chili pepper to taste. Stir well or process. Cover and reserve.

Texture: Make Chimichurri Sauce as rustic and coarsely chopped to as refined and emulsified as you like.
By Hand: Chopping by hand controls the texture the best especially for the more rustic style.
By Food Processor with metal chopping blade, Handheld Immersion Blender, or Stand Blender: This is the most popular method for making the sauce.

Add the parsley, oregano, cilantro or coriander, pipicha, calamint, or Syrian oregano if using, and pulse. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse or chop. Remember: Machines tend to rip and tear apart the leaves, the onion, the garlic, etc. If using a machine and ingredients stick to the sides of the bowl, add some oil and that should loosen them up for processing.

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