Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce is a riff on the more traditional Argentinian sauce. It's just as fresh and bright, but includes fresh cilantro, sherry vinegar, and generous amounts of garlic and red pepper. It comes together in a flash, and pairs well with many dishes, but is glorious on beef!
And when love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.-- William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Chimichurri and Perfect Pairings
A marriage made in heaven? A perfect pairing... Chimichurri on beef is one such pairing that jumps to the top of the list when I think about perfect pairings.
Perhaps you can think of a food pairing that just always seems to "work?" Sharp cheddar and tart apples, bleu cheese and pears, pork and apples, fish and lemon, beef and mushrooms are a few of our favorites that come to mind.
Father's Day 2015 was not typical at Andersen casa. We are in the throes of relocating chaos - selling, packing, cleaning, and repairing 2 homes, and spending our last couple of Sunday fundays with our local kids. The menu had to be simple, but my sons and I wanted to honor my husband (their father) Mark, encourage him to relax, and of course, feed him excellent food! 🙂
We rarely eat beef which makes it special at our house. Beef is best kept simple in my humble opinion, so in the midst of our chaos, it seemed like a perfect choice. I've made chimichurri for years, and always felt Argentinians had captured the perfect complement to beef in this simple, fresh condiment. My recipe is not a traditional Argentinian chimichurri.
I do take a bit of creative license with my cilantro chimichurri recipe. Argentinian cuisine is influenced by Italian flavors and ingredients, and chimichurri frequently counts fresh oregano among its ingredients in addition to the fresh flat leaf parsley. Being New Mexicans with a penchant for cilantro, I usually use a generous amount of fresh cilantro, rather than oregano.
My husband is the master of the grill, and he brought the grill to extremely high heat (too hot to keep a hand 2 to 3 inches from the grate), and cooked it 2 ½ minutes per side. As delicious as this looked, my hungry hubby patiently helped photograph the food, and was quite happy to eat it at room temperature...
I served the beef with rosemary roasted new potatoes, and grilled asparagus drizzled with garlic and white truffle infused olive oil. The sun had set after a blazing hot afternoon, and we enjoyed our lukewarm dinner on the patio with a very bold and slightly tannic red wine. Delicious!
More often than not, I use sherry vinegar (just because I love its smooth, refined flavor), rather than red wine vinegar which is more typical. I am generous with the crushed red pepper or fresh Fresno chile (also a manifestation of the New Mexican palate), but adjust to your preference. Of course garlic may be a bit heavy-handed in my recipe too. 😉 As Gaelen (3rd son) oft reminds me, "you can't have too much garlic, Mom."
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- 1 ½ cups fresh cilantro (1 bunch)
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley
- 2 shallots (or ½ small red onion)
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper or 1 Fresno chile, minced
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic (that's a lot!)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar (or other good quality vinegar)
- Make the chimichurri - Add all ingredients to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times to desired consistency. Scrape sides. Repeat if necessary.
🥩 How to Use Chimichurri
Chimichurri is a perfect pairing with beef, but don't limit its use to beef. Spoon it over your favorite fish, pork, or poultry, add to salad dressings and potato salad, etc. It really is versatile!
The evening we shot photos, I spooned it over thinly sliced grilled flank steak... rare of course. The flank steak needs nothing more than seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
We don't like cilantro. What can we substitute? You want roughly 2 cups of fresh herbs. As I mentioned above, a traditional chimichurri has parsley and oregano, and this is a great combination. Oregano is very strong, so I'd suggest 1 ½ cups flat leaf parsley and ½ cup oregano.
- Exact measurements are not important. I typically use 1 bunch of cilantro, and cut it at the base of the leaves. Tender stems are fine, but you don't want to use the bigger (bitter) stems.
- We love garlic, and I'm a little heavy-handed with it in my chimichurri. Adjust to your preference
- I keep a jar of minced garlic in my refrigerator, and it is a great time saver. Fresh minced is always better though.
- Fresh red chili is optional. We use a whole large chili, but you can use half, or none at all. I often can't get them, so I specify either dried red chile flakes or a fresh Fresno chile minced.
- Red wine vinegar is the traditional vinegar for chimichurri. As I mentioned, I like sherry vinegar. I don’t recommend balsamic or white vinegar.