When it comes to spices, some of us, Argentines will be the first to admit that the bulk of our traditional dishes lack intense flavors. Chimichurri is certainly an exception.
Since the 1800s it has been the official steak accompaniment at Argentine asados (barbeques) from marinade to dipping sauce. Place a few spoonfuls of the spicy creation on a tasty Argentine steak and you’ll quickly realize why it’s so popular. As with all recipes there are variations, but most people stick with the same basic ingredients.
A dear friend of mine makes chimichurri wonderfully. She adds olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, onion, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot chili flakes. The tang of the vinegar along with the garlic and combination of spices are the perfect compliment to a truly superior steak.
Argentina and Uruguay are the countries where chimichurri is used as a national condiment and it has hundred of versions or flavours. The sauce can also be used on vegetables particularly with grilled or fried tomatoes and it tastes wonderful.
Another Friend’s Recipe of the Chimichurri Marinade:
- ½ cup containing large pieces of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons small pieces of shallots (almost 2 medium size)
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried warm red-pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
- Blend simultaneously all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!
So for all of you visitors to Argentina who miss your spicy dishes back home, ask for chimichurri on the side next time you indulge in a steak or choripan (sausage sandwich). Trust me, you’ll find yourself craving it once you leave. For a culture that generally steers away from strongly spiced dishes, favoring milder options, chimichurri proves that deep down, we, Argentines appreciate spice as much as the rest of the world.