What Is Chimichurri?
Spread it on bread, serve it with a juicy steak hot off the grill, or drizzle it on top of some whole-roasted fish — it's pretty hard to go wrong with chimichurri. This staple of Argentinean cuisine is quickly becoming popular here in the United States. Its ease of preparation and elegant simplicity have pretty much ensured its status as the next great craze after pesto.
Tangy, herbal, and slightly spicy, chimichurri is a blend of olive oil, vinegar, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and red chile pepper flakes or chopped red chiles. Some versions use oregano, some versions do not, but these are the essential ingredients. It has a consistency similar to basil pesto and can be used as a marinade as well as a dipping sauce; its flavor profile contrasts well with rich and savory meats.
Chimichurri's origins are unclear, but there is a tale about a British traveler and a friend who came to Argentina sometime in the 1800s. The tastes and smells of traditional Argentinean cuisine so impressed him that he decided to concoct the perfect sauce to go with the bounty of grilled and roasted meats. His version, however, might not be recognized as chimichurri today: In addition to the chiles, oregano, and garlic, he combined tomatoes, onions, rosemary, and thyme — and his version had no parsley in it, a main component of the sauce today.