The thriving parsley plant, ever had one of those? Well, that's how this recipe was inspired.
Fresh herbs are much more prevalent in my cooking these days so I added a parsley plant to the herb bed this year. What I didn't know is that it would outgrow all of the other herbs, leaving me to ponder the question, what in the world am I going to do with all of this parsley?!? Most recipes call for just a small amount, 2 tablespoons of chopped parley, and then there's a sprig or two for decoration on your dinner platter, but those ideas don't even make a dent in my plant. I vaguely remembered reading about a sauce of some kind made with parsley, so the research begins, and the answer was Chimichurri sauce.
The research was interesting, and I love the stories behind recipes. This recipe originates from Argentina, and some tales even include a potential originator named Jimmy Curry! It's history is that it was used mostly as a beef topping, and there are many recipes with Chimichurri sauce topping a perfectly cooked flank steak, but there's also ideas to be found with Chimichurri sauce used with a variety of grilled meats. It can also be utilized as a marinade.
The primary ingredients are parsley, garlic, oil, oregano, red wine vinegar, and red pepper. But when I read other recipes, there are a few that include ingredients such as paprika, cumin, and cilantro. I experimented with several combinations, including regular parsley - way too spicy! Another version included too much garlic for me, so here's the combination that I found best!
Approximately 1 1/2 cups packed flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon wedge
I simply placed all the ingredients in a small food processor, pulsed it until the consistency was coarsely chopped but yet would "drizzle" over meats. One recipe I read swore that in order to be authentic everything should be hand chopped, I will have to put that on the list of things to try someday!
Since the reputation of Chimichurri sauce is readily known to accompany beef steak, I sampled some other ideas to share with you. First over lightly grilled chicken breast, cut in half longwise, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, then let the Chimichurri sauce do the rest. The next time was over salmon, also just lightly seasoned and baked, then topped with Chimichurri sauce. Both were excellent combinations! And of course the idea of serving over flank steak was tried and tested, and yes, very very good!
This sauce is a perfect idea for spicing up your simple protein entree, making your dinner a little more elegant and special. Eating a paleo diet does not have to be boring! The addition of fresh herbs in toppings such as Chimichurri sauce enhances the flavor of many dishes. There are so many good recipes like this with fresh ingredients, these ideas will help keep your meal planning healthy and away from things you want to avoid, such as a rich heavy creamy cheese sauce toppings. And maybe add a parsley plant to your herb bed next year?