Another Monday off from work and what better way to spend it than giving all my wonderful Regular Visitors yet another intimate peek inside this quirky lil’ Catgirl’s kitchen to see what yummy things I’ve been up to lately.
This time out I thought I might share my recipe for Argentinian Chimichurri…. the perfect marinade and condiment for a spicy summer BBQ meal. For my special contribution to the food at last week’s 4th of July picnic cookout with Carolyn’s co-workers, I combined this exotic yummy concoction with thinly sliced strips of flank steak on skewers to make a selection of tasty “finger food” servings perfect for a warm lazy Summer afternoon’s party with friends.
Tasty… exotic…. and also super, super easy to make, this lil’ Catgirl is hoping you all will find it as delightful and flavorful as they did!
Want in on the mouth watering spicy goodness? Then all you have to do is “Read On!!”
Chimichurri…. another of those wonderfully exotic local tastes I discovered quite a few years ago when I first started cooking for a living. I learned about it from another part time cook who was a foreign student at one of our local colleges, working his way through school nights and weekends at the Restaurant who’s kitchen I now manage. Back then the two of us were both just lowly prep and line cooks, but each of us had one thing in common… a fascination with food and all things spicy. We actually dated too, for a short while, but while ultimately that didn’t pan out (… although that’s yet another story for perhaps another time… ), Enrique and I stayed friends and one of the things he shared with me before graduating and going back home to South America was his family’s recipe for Chimichurri.
From what I can tell, I guess just about everybody’s family in Argentina has their own recipe for this stuff. It seems to fill a niche with them the way pesto does in Italian cooking, and over the years since he first shared it with me, I’ve tweaked and teased and changed that original recipe in little ways here and there to suit my own tastes. It works well as a marinade for grilling meat… it can be used straight, as a condiment to be slathered right on just about any meat or grilled veggies. I’ve even used it with cream to make a zippy noodle dish. It’s very versatile and multi-talented…. just the way I like my food!
This one is easiest to make if you have a food processor, very much the same way you would with pesto if you’ve ever given that a whirl. To start, place in your processor bowl the following ingredients:¾ cup of fresh Italian parsley (packed) ¼ cup of fresh cilantro (packed)
4 cloves garlic 1 medium red onion (chunked) 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes ½ of a sweet red bell pepper (seeded) 1 hot red chili pepper, Tabasco or scotch bonnet (seeded) (Or… if you still have some Malay Sambal in the fridge, a lil’ of that would certainly work too!!) 1 tbsp. of paprika 1 tbsp. dried oregano ¼ tsp. black peppercorns ½ tsp. coarse kosher salt 2 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice 2 tbsp. of Red Wine Vinegar
Next, gently pulse the processor as you drizzle in about ½ a cup of olive oil, looking to make a fairly chunky paste, very similar in texture to a coarse pesto. If it’s a little thick, add a wee bit of water till you hit the consistency you want.
Next take long thin strips of Flank Steak and weave them on bamboo skewers, along with chunks of onion and peppers, before covering them with a thick coating of the chimichurri and slipping them into the fridge to marinate overnight. You could grill them immediately, but the best results will be had by letting them sit overnight…. all those flavors penetrating and tenderizing your steak till the moment you decide to pop them on the ol’ grill and unleash their inner yummyness.
You may need to add a little olive oil to the strips right before grilling if they appear to have soaked it all up while in the fridge, but generally I find they will be fine on their own, cooking away and being additionally slathered by brushing on any chimichurri left over as they cook.
There are all sorts of other things that can make their way into this simple recipe…. I’ve thrown in all sorts of other things as well on occasion, such as a few unsalted peanuts or pine nuts to give it a nutty edge, or even a splash of soy to give it a little Asian-inspired flair. Feel free to get crazy…. it’s all part of the fun!
So….. anyway, that was my 4th of July BBQ surprise. Here’s hoping you have as much fun with it at your next cookout and until next time I decide to go play in the kitchen, “Meow, meow for now o’ Gentle Visitors!!”