Chimichurri is among the most flavorful herb salsa recipes in the world. Used as a dressing for pasta, sandwiches, eggs, and bbq – this sauce incorporates the native flavors of Argentina. It’s an easy one to master, and once you do, any herb salsa will be well within your reach.
In This Article
Why Chimichurri Works
If you want to learn about the world of flavor, there is no better place to start than by taking on an herb salsa like Chimichurri. Every culture has its own version of this green sauce, typically made in the summertime with fresh herbs from the garden. This version originates in Argentina and reflects the local growing region.
Here are a few reasons why Chimichurri works so well,
- The “bright” flavor is kicking. The acidity and a blast of herbs add flavor intensity to any recipe. As a dipping sauce, marinade, or drizzle, this salsa pairs especially well with fatty foods that amplify its flavor. It adds vibrance to savory foods that are already tasty, but might otherwise feel heavy.
- A quick way to improve presentation. This is a vibrant green sauce, usually interspersed with bright red chili flakes. Adding a drizzle atop a dish that is naturally plain or brown not only adds tremendous flavor. It also makes the plating look visually interesting. Five minutes of hands-on time can present a professional aesthetic.
- You’ll learn “the formula” for herb sauce. It seems that every food culture has its own version of this sauce, made with ingredients that are local to its geography. Pesto, Thai chili herb sauce, salsa verde, and even Green Goddess are remarkably similar. Master this recipe, and the world of green sauces will quickly open up for you.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – look for oil that was pressed in the last year, preferably that made in Argentina with the extra-spicy Arauco olive if you can find it. Don’t use refined olive oil, it lacks the fresh flavor you’ll want for this recipe.
- Red Wine Vinegar – should be tart, sweet, and have a full body. The quality of vinegar is less important than it is for EVOO, but the truth is better vinegar will always make a better sauce.
- Italian Parsley – try to find flat-leaf parsley because it has more flavor than the curly variety, but either can work.
- Garlic – look for fresh garlic without blemishes. Hard-nock garlic usually provides more flavor but is often more difficult to find at the grocery store.
- Oregano – this herb grows like a weed in most temperate climates and will do well in a garden container or even on your kitchen countertop. Wherever you get yours, use fresh rather than dried oregano.
- Salt – always use salt without iodine for this recipe, and try to avoid chloride as well. Those flavors will color the end result. Sea salt works great.
- Chili Pepper – you can use red chili pepper flakes or fresh pepper.
Equipment You’ll Need
If you prefer, you can also mix chimichurri using a food processor or blender. While these tools work more quickly, they also tend to crush the ingredients rather than slice them, so you’ll end up with a slightly different texture.
- Chop the herbs. Finely chop the parsley, oregano, and garlic. If you like a coarser consistency sauce, then adjust the size of the prepped ingredients to your liking.
- Mix in a bowl. Mix the chopped herbs in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- Rest it to infuse. Allow the mixture to rest for at least 15 minutes so that the flavor of the herbs infuses the oil.
- Serve it.
Tips and Tricks
The base recipe is very straightforward, and once you get the hang of it then adding your own elaborations and substitutions should come naturally. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Flavor infusion & adjustment
Leave adequate time for infusion & adjust flavor to taste.
Flavor infusion takes time, so allowing your sauce to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving should be the minimum. If you are able, allow the sauce to rest for several hours.
Before serving, sample your chimichurri and adjust it using our guide to flavor principles, if necessary. Too salty? Add acid (vinegar). Too sour? Add sweetener (honey). Taste as you go, and make the flavor perfect before you serve it.
Few people practice creative plating of the food they make at home. Use the vibrant color of the chimichurri to your advantage when plating.
It takes minimal effort to drizzle and dot a plate with this vibrant sauce, and the “wow” factor is tremendous. Try applying a base of sauce below a piece of grilled meat, then drizzle and dot the top surface.
Chimichurri is traditionally served as a topping for grilled meats in Argentina and Uruguay.
The truth is that Chimichurri makes almost anything better. You can use it as a sauce for grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or a dip in many contexts. Chips, crackers, celery, hard bread, you name it.
Serve it at room temperature. The flavor and texture of chimichurri can change when it’s served cold..and not in a good way.
If you’re storing it in the refrigerator, give the sauce time to reach room temperature before serving.
And do not attempt to heat it, as the added temperature may spoil the herbs quickly. Allow the room temperature or dish temperature to naturally heat the sauce.
Chimichurri is always best when made fresh. You can store it for a few days in the refrigerator, but the herbs will wilt, and the color will fade.
It’s also possible to store chimichurri in the freezer. Add small portions to individual compartments in an ice cube tray, and portion them out as needed.Print