Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is a chimichurri?

Photo: Scott Atkinson (www.sunset.com)

The warm weather of summer has coaxed my garden into a growth spurt of amazing proportions. Parsley and oregano have exploded from every nook and cranny. When given lemons, we make lemonaide. When given parsley, we make chimichurri.

No, it's not a new dance. Chimichurri is a popular Argentinian condiment--a green sauce used on grilled meats as commonly as we use catsup.

How did such a simple sauce gain such a strange name? There are many theories. One story claims that it comes from "Jimmy McMurry", an Irishman who invented the sauce. Others say it was "Jimmy Curry", an English meat importer, James C. Hurray, and even an English family who were heard to say "give me the curry" while dining with a Uruguain family.

All I know is that it is so easy to make. Just place the following in the bowl of your blender or food processor and whirl until you have a beautiful green sauce:

Chimichurri
3 cups of chopped flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 half large lemon
3/4 cup olive oil

OK, so now what do you do with chimichurri? My husband and I had it with grilled steaks. It would be equally fabulous with grilled chicken, fish, or even pork.

But, there will be leftovers. We had leftovers. Now what?

Well, I've never been known to throw anything away. Not even a cup of day-old chimichurri. Guess what? You're getting two recipes today for the price of one:

Rice Salad with Chimichurri Dressing
4 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced tomato (with seeds removed)
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
about 1 cup chimichurri sauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Mix all together, serve, and enjoy!

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