4
votes

I've checked out several recipes and none of them really turn out right. They taste like well... parsley, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. No actual kick to it. Nothing special.

I toss the whole thing into a hand blender and serve it raw.

I'm not sure if I'm using the right chili. I don't have access to many American chilis, and am mostly relying on SE Asian ones. I also avoid alcohol, hence the usage of balsamic vinegar instead.

Am I missing some technique or secret ingredient?

3
votes

A couple of ideas you might try: using half cilantro and half parsley, and adding some very finely minced raw onion. I also sometimes add a tablespoon or so of drained capers. Some people also add a modest amount of fresh oregano leaves for their resinous punch.

3
votes

Chimichurri is a very basic uncooked sauce and it does not (and should not) taste particularly good on its own. It is used to enhance the flavor of meat, so I would not try to read much from how it tastes alone.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh oregano leaves (Origanum vulgare)
  • 2 tsp crushed red- pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare a brine by dissolving the salt in boiling water, let it cool completely.
  2. Chop the garlic very finely and place it in a medium sized container.
  3. Finely chop the parsley and oregano and add to the garlic together with the red pepper flakes.
  4. While stirring, add the red wine vinegar, then the olive oil and the brine.
  5. Transfer to a container with a lid and let it cool in the fridge for a day.
  6. It is better to prepare it the day before use so the flavors have more time to blend. You can keep chimichurri in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.

Source: This is Francis Mallmann's (Well-known Argentinian chef) recipe. This is my own translation from his book in Spanish, but you will find this recipe also in English media such as this one from NYMag

Some more tips:

  • Do not use balsamic, it will taste completely different. Red wine vinegar has less alcohol than some "alcohol free" beers (1% or less), and there are ones without alcohol at all in them. You could also boil it first, but for 1/4 cup, in a sauce... you couldn't even measure it.

  • Use dried red pepper in fine flakes, not fresh peppers. If the flakes you can get are from very spicy peppers, just use less. It is not a spicy sauce.

A note on fresh herbs

As unpopular as this might be, the truth is that chimichurri is traditionally made with dried oregano, not fresh. I personally think it's ok to use fresh oregano and the Mallmann thinks so too, but he does make the disclaimer in his book about fresh herbs being "his own take on it".

Parsley, garlic and oregano are the common denominator across both Argentina and Uruguay, but some regions also have variations. As an Argentinian I might be biased. That said, and not being a purist myself: I have never ever found cilantro or capers in Argentinian chimichurri.

2
  • 1
    oregano might actually be a significant part of the answer, as there are multiple plants that are called 'oregano'. Mediteranean oregano is origanum vulgare, while Mexican oregano is lippia graveolens. But as Argentina had a lot of European immigration, I don't know which one is the correct oregano to use.
    – Joe
    Sep 29 at 12:38
  • Thanks @Joe, I wasn't aware of the lippia graveolens variety, clarified
    – istepaniuk
    Sep 29 at 13:28
1
vote

I definitely tasted a very good chimichurri in an Argentinean cafe(Nonna's Empanadas) at West Hollywood just about two weeks ago. So the best I can do is to describe its difference from others and hopefully that will help to replicate a tasty one. That chimichurri was made up of not only those required herbs and seasoning, also it was tangy and spicy.

I'm also sure that it was made from chili oil because its oil color was bright red which contributed to its delicious spiciness. However, the mystery was about its tanginess. I don't think that it was from a lemon or lime juice because all I could see was herbs and oil. I think it was either citric acid or another sour spice such as "sumac".

There was no overpowering garlic taste or residues either.

I would definitely try to replicate that chimichurri in near future when I'm making grilled chicken and would post the recipe to my blog.

2
  • Are you sure the tanginess wasn't from red wine vinegar?
    – ESultanik
    Jan 30 '14 at 15:50
  • 1
    +1 for tangy + spicy. That said, if you do come up with a good recipe and have some advice to share, feel free to come back and edit your answer to link to the post. But linking just to your blog, when there's not a recipe there yet, doesn't help answer this question.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 16 '14 at 5:34
1
vote

Red wine vinegar, cilantro, parsley, shallots, garlic, dried red Chili flake, sugar, salt, pepper, grapeseed oil.

Blend and let it rest for at least an hour at room temp for the flavor to develop

3
  • 1
    That sounds like a nice recipe. Without some basic proportions, it is not so useful though.
    – razumny
    Feb 16 '14 at 18:25
  • Experiment, make it your own
    – user23249
    Feb 16 '14 at 18:40
  • 2
    While I understand that, and would do that if I felt a need to improve on my own take on chimichurri, your answer is next to useless without any proportions.
    – razumny
    Feb 16 '14 at 18:43

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