Chimichurri, a wonderfully bright and fresh condiment that is used quite a bit in both Argentina and Uruguay. It is packed with herbs and combines warmth from oregano and flat leaf parsley with a balanced acidity of lemon juice and salt.
As in many things throughout food history, there are many theories on how chimichurri came to be and why it was named this.
It could have been the gauchos or cowboys of Argentina that developed chimichurri. Most likely they used dried herbs as they were mobile, living off the land and fresh herbs would have just been completely impractical.
The theories of the word 'chimichurri';
1. After the Bristish failed the invasion of Rio de Plato (1806-1807) prisoners asked for condiments in mixed English, Aboriginal and Spanish languages.
2. Jimmy Curry, an Irishman, or an Englishman, joined in the fight for Argentine Independence (1810-1818)...... but many say he was involved in the meat trade and his name was difficult to pronounce.
3. Basque settlers that arrived in Argentina in the 19th Century called a variation of this sauce "Tximitxurri", meaning a mixture of things in no particular order.
There is a possibility that chimichurri did not really exist until the Italian immigrants arrived in Argentina in the mid 1850's. This wonderful green condiment is very similar to Sicilian Salmoriglio sauce which contains garlic, dried oregano, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, flat leaf parsley and water.
Either way... here's the recipe.
It's great on grilled meat and seafood and there are so many variations around. You can add any acidity you like and play around with different kinds of herbs.
Below is a more traditional recipe to start you off with the basics.
Yields about 250g of mouthwatering chimichurri
60g flat leaf parsley, leaves
15g fresh oregano leaves
120g good grassy extra virgin olive oil
20g lemon juice and rind of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Roughly or finely chop all leafy and herby stuff (chop to however you want the texture of the chimichurri)
Finely chop the garlic and mix in lemon juice. Add this to the chopped herbs
Mix the herbs and slowly add in the oil until all is combined and is the mixture lusciously glistening
Add salt and pepper to your desired taste and pop it in the fridge in an airtight container. The oil will set a little in the fridge so bring to room temperature before serving.
Chimichurri will last for a good 2 weeks but it will discolour and the flavours will mellow slightly.
If you are feeling lazy you can always throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until all is combined.
Enjoy this wonderful condiment, it's so simple and easy to make. I throw it in salads, pasta, even use it as a dipping sauce for bread. It also tastes great on grilled seafood.
Variation Ideas; throw in some cumin for a little bit of warmth, trade the lemon acidity for red wine vinegar, use other herbs such as taragon, marjoram or coriander for a different flavour profile. To give it a little kick you can also add some fresh chopped red chillies or even dried ones if you have them.