I’m ready for summer. I want unrestricted access to sunlight, not these meager rations we’ve been getting in my part of the world. I want to go outside without adding a 10 minute buffer for the layers of warm clothes that have to go on before I can leave the house. A simple, breezy dress and a pair of sandals will do just fine right now, thank you very much.
Sadly, it seems like my hands and feet are destined to be ice cold for the foreseeable future so I guess I’ll have to settle for bringing some green, summer flavors into my life via food stuffs.
- lemon (+zest)
- fresh jalapeno peppers
Otherwise called chimichurri sauce. Also known as my snack by the spoonfuls. Move over, Nutella- mama’s got a new fave!
This chimichurri sauce, my friends, is the sauce to end all sauces. Traditionally, it’s a sauce that’s served over steak but I’m living on the edge and breaking that rule. It’s the wonder sauce that becomes a sauce, marinade, erm *snack*, dip, glaze, and so much more. I dipped tomatoes into it today as a snack. Then I used it to make chimichurri shrimp with cauliflower fried rice. Yep- that happened and will happen on this blog soon! Be still my beating heart. Can I also add that the cauli-rice was tossed in chimichurri, for an extra ooomph?
I love the addition of mint to chimichurri. Mint has to be my absolute favorite herb. Or maybe it’s cilantro. Actually do I HAVE to pick just one? I mean, pack a food processor with mint, cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapeno peppers- unseeded if your life goal is to eventually burn off your tastebuds-, garlic, salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice (and zest, if you please); give it a few spins. Taste. Taste. TASTE. Add a pinch, or teaspoon or two of cayenne, if you’re a heat seeker. Store.
I’ve always been a mint-coriander chutney kinda girl. You know the bright green, spicy sauce you eat with samosas? Yup, I’m the hoarder of said sauce in my family. I used to buy a bottle a week, until I realized I could actually make it on my own. Then I met chimichurri. And I had an a-ha moment– the addition of parsley for a little edge to a mint-corriander chutney. Then came the addition of olive oil- for robust, mainstreamable flavor. From that emerged this version of chimichurri that is marinatable, spreadable, dipable. It doesn’t get any better.
I now have a yummy, versatile goodness all-in-one-sauce that I can whip up in less than 5 minutes. No chopping necessary, which works out so well for the lazy me who just wants to snack on some pita chips with chimichurri like yesterday.
Can I confess something?
I eyeball the herbs 95% of the time. Sometimes I go with more mint, sometimes more cilantro, and sometimes more parsley. Sometimes I add two jalapenos, sometimes seeded, sometimes not. And sometimes, when I feel like splurging, I add a handful of pine nuts– this doesn’t come cheap and I may have to sell a kidney to fund this pine nut addiction. You can add all sorts of things as long as you have keep the flavors balanced. You need
- rich—> not a flavor but how else do you describe the addition of olive oil for flavor and richness?
You know what I did with the jar that’s sitting in the fridge right now? I topped a generous dollop of the chimichurri sauce on my make ahead breakfast muffins this morning. I can easily see myself subbing in this chimichurri for the cilantro-mint charmoula with this vegetable tagine. I’m pausing for a minute here to look at those pictures from back then and comparing them to the pictures now. Holy moly does that recipe need a reshoot!
This chimichurri sauce stays good in the fridge for about two weeks, giving you lots of chances to spice up your meals. You can also freeze it. It’s a great way to use up all those herbs you may not use in time- make the chimichurri, pour into an ice cube tray, top with a thin layer of olive oil and freeze. Why the oil? The oil helps the herbs retain their vibrant green color.
Once frozen, pop them out of the ice cube tray and into freezer bags and use within 6 months. Just take as much as many cubes as you need and thaw in the fridge. I add the frozen cubes straight into a hot pan like I did when I made my chimichurri shrimp with cauliflower fried rice–recipe to come later this week!
- 1 bunch cilantro with stems
- 1 bunch parsley, with stems
- 1 cup mint, stems removed
- 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 jalapeno, split in half and seeded (leave seeds in tact if you want spicier chimichurri)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested (about ¼ cup)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Add all ingredients and ¼ cup olive to a food processor jar. With the food processor on low speed or pulse, add in remaining olive oil. Do not puree completely. You should be able to see tiny pieces of the herbs. Use water to thin out if necessary.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze with a thin layer of olive oil on top and use within six months of freezing.