Last week I spent a few days working in the Strip District – an old historic market area in Pittsburgh – one of my favorite places (but another day).
I came home with a huge bunch of parsley and not wanting to waste it I decided to make a chimichurri sauce. It could also be that we ate lunch that day at Gaucho Parrilla, an Argentinian restaurant that is absolutely fantastic. Worth the wait if you happen to be down there!
Anyway, I guess I had South American cuisine on my mind…and had a skirt steak thawing in the refrigerator, so it was meant to be!
Chimichurri sauce is really easy to make and will only take 5 minutes to whip together in your food processor.
What is Chimichurri Sauce?
Traditionally it is made of oil, vinegar, garlic, a variety of fresh herbs, and red pepper. I made mine similarly but I had garlic scapes in the fridge, so used those in place of garlic.
While you make it in a food processor or a blender, it shouldn’t be a pureed sauce. Blend the sauce just enough for the herbs to be well chopped. You should still see the pieces of parsley, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. The oil and vinegar will pull all the flavors together nicely.
A good Chimichurri has a bit of a bite from the vinegar and garlic, which cuts through the fat in the steak and balances the flavors. You can make it as spicy as you’d like by adding red pepper flakes. We like a little kick but really want the other flavors to shine through. I used just a pinch of red pepper flakes, but you can adjust it to your taste.
What can you do with Chimichurri Sauce?
It’s great to marinate the steak in the sauce and reserve some to serve on the side. Marinating helps tenderize the meat and if you have a touch cut, it really helps. I marinated this in the sauce for a few hours which tenderized and added a lot of flavor to the meat.
Chimichurri Sauce is also a zesty sandwich spread, is delicious drizzled over roasted or grilled vegetables or as a dip.
If you find yourself with a huge bunch of parsley and don’t know what to do with it, give this chimichurri sauce a try. Just like pesto, it freezes well. Make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays or a Ziploc bag. You’ll be ready for your next cookout.
Give it a try and drop a note in the comment section to let me know what you think!
- 2 cups fresh parsley washed and dried well
- 2 garlic scapes, chopped (or 2 -3 cloves garlic)
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Place parsley and garlic scapes in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in. Pulse until parsley is well chopped (but not smooth) and garlic scapes are minced.
- While the processor is running gradually pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar through the opening in the top of the food processor and drop in the red pepper flakes. Process until thoroughly mixed but you can still see pieces of parsley.
- Serve on the side of a grilled flank steak, chicken or white fish.
- This can be made ahead and frozen for a couple of months before use.
- If you want your steak to have extra flavor, brush some of the sauce on the steak 2 -3 hours before grilling and leave in the refrigerator to marinate. Serve the extra on the side.