The market had bunches of parsley on sale this weekend, so I decided to make a chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri is kind of like the Argentinian version of pesto, except they put it on everything. Ketchup is probably a more apt comparison when it comes to usage. The authentic version makes a very strong sauce that needs to be toned down for most Americans. My version does that while staying pretty close to real thing.
Here’s everything you need to make the chimichurri sauce:
Almost Authentic Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley, Chopped
- 3 large Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
- 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
Authentic chimichurri calls for lots of raw garlic, but I think that makes it too strong. I add a little lime juice to round out the flavor and use chipotle powder instead of crushed red pepper so that the heat is evenly distributed. I should add that you need high quality olive oil for this recipe. If you’re using a really cheap brand, then feel free to use half olive oil and half canola oil. It’ll taste the same and save you a few bucks.
Lots of recipes would have you throw all the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Don’t do it. Chimichurri isn’t supposed to be smooth like a soup. Chop everything by hand; it makes a big difference. To begin with, mince the garlic. You’re going to be serving it raw, so make sure you take the time to chop it really fine.
Next, rinse and chop the parsley. You want to mainly use the leaves, but it’s okay if you get some of the stalks.
Add everything to a bowl and mix it with a fork to blend the wet ingredients. Taste the sauce; it should have a robust herb flavor combined with a smooth garlic taste. The aftertaste should consist of sweet citrus and sour vinegar. You might need to season it a little more with salt and pepper. I showed the chimichurri to my wife and left the room to fire up the grill. When I came back, she had sliced off some of my bread and was dipping it into the sauce. After a minute or two I had to take it away so we’d have some left for the steak.
When the sauce is finished, pour half of it onto your flank steak. Poke a bunch of holes in the meat with a fork to make sure it absorbs the chimichurri. You only want the meat to marinade for a couple of hours. If you marinate it overnight, the salt will pull the moisture out of the meat, making it dry when it’s cooked, and the acid in the lemon juice will literally cook the outer layer of meat, making it taste bland.
After the meat has finished marinating, throw the steak on a scorching hot grill over direct heat. If your meat is about 3/4 inches thick, cook it for about 4 minutes per side. Adjust the cooking time according the to the thickness of your cut.
Pull it off when the internal temperature reaches about 140°. Set it on a plate and let it rest under foil for about 5-10 minutes. If you slice it too soon, all the juices will run out, defeating the point of marinating it in the first place. The internal temperature will creep to about 150°, leaving it with a little pink in the center. When it has cooled enough, slice it on the bias against the grain. Don’t screw this up. When you cut off a slice of meat, the grain should ruin perpendicular to the cut (like rungs on a ladder). If the grain is running the same direction as the cut (like lanes of a freeway), you’ll need to sharpen your teeth to eat it.
When you plate the flank steak, pour any meat juices back over the slices and top with a little chimichurri. This is a real crowd-pleaser. The sauce will keep for a while in the fridge.
If you’re wondering about the corn, it’s cajun-spiced. To make it, I peel back the husks, remove the silk strings, and soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. When it’s time to grill them, I rub the kernels with butter and cajun spices. Then I fold the husk back over the corn and grill it on the top rack. The wet husk helps to steam the corn. When it’s done, I just pop off the husk and serve the cobb as is. I love grilled corn. Sometimes I just butter it up and cook it right on the grate.