Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Quick Sauces for Summer

The summer grilling season approacheth. It's a good time to (re)introduce chimichurri to everyone. Traditionally, chimichurri from Argentina and Uruguay and is a sauce for grilled meats. What I love about chimchurri sauces is that they can be made ahead and kept as an insurance policy against boring food. You can also stir the sauces into a pasta salad or cole slaw or bean salad to jazz them up.

A parsley-based chimichurri is the version most people are familiar with. I just found a recipe for the red version of chimichurri. I can tell it's going to become a go-to condiment for me this summer: it's super easy to make and will keep in the fridge for a while.

Chimichurri (Green)
Yields about 2 cups
This is the version you're most likely be served. My version results in pesto-like version. If you prefer a looser consistency, adjust the sauce with more vinegar and oil.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves(substitute 2 teaspoons dried oregano, or omit oregano entirely)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2-3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, blend all the ingredients except the olive oil, until you have a fine paste. Add olive oil to get the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Red Chimichurri (Chimichurri Rojo)
Yields about 1 cup
This yield a very liquid sauce, more like a salad dressing. I keep it in a squeeze bottle and give a squirt to dishes that need jazzing up.
Adapted from Norman van Aken.
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar (the sherry vinegar results in a much more interesting sauce, but use a good red wine vinegar if that's what you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot paprika (use half hot paprika and half smoked paprika for an interesting version)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (leave out if you don't want it to be too spicy)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Shake everything together in a squeeze bottle or jar. Taste for salt and adjust it if needed. This keeps for a while (at least two weeks) in the refrigerator.

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