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Dorothy Dean presents: Chimichurri is a simply made accompaniment for barbecues and more

UPDATED: Mon., May 24, 2021

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Memorial Day is just around the corner and kicks off the official start of one of summer’s most welcomed enticements: backyard barbecues.

With burgers and steaks dominating the grill, Memorial Day is the largest beef-eating day of the year, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. How many pounds are consumed, you ask? More than 65 million.

So, it’s fitting that May is also National Beef Month and National Barbecue Month. With that being said, chances are you’ll be enjoying your favorite cut of steak this weekend, and I have just the sauce for it.

Chimichurri is a zesty and bright oil-based condiment that hails from South America. A staple in Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine, it’s primarily served with grilled steak, and it’s typically made with finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

There are many regional variations, and in South America, you will find green (chimichurri verde) and red (chimichurri rojo) versions.

This recipe calls for additions like cilantro, red onions, jalapeño, lime juice and red pepper flakes, and this simple sauce just requires some chopping and mixing.

It packs incredibly vibrant and bold flavors into every bite, making it the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled such as steak, chicken, pork, fish and shrimp. It’s also great on veggies and as a dip for crostini.

Be sure to hand chop the ingredients and not throw them in a food processor, as it will whip your loose, silky sauce into a thick, herbed mash.

You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. Add more jalapeño or red pepper flakes to turn up the heat, or use a fresh red chili. If your taste buds love garlicky, throw in a couple more cloves.

If cilantro isn’t your thing, just parsley can be used. However, I’d stick with red wine vinegar, as it adds a depth of flavor that can’t be replaced.

Chimichurri Sauce

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

¾ cup olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.

Let stand for at least 20 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight, for flavors to meld before using.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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