Oh, Chimmichurri. It is green. It is savory. It is absolutely mouth watering. And it has been a staple of Argentine cuisine for generations.
The Origins of Chimmichurri
Though chimmichurri is notoriously Argentine, chimmichurri's origins are as mysterious as it's name. Some guesstimate that the word "chimmichurri" comes from a combination of names and words like "Jimmy's curry". Others believe chimmichurri's name is influenced by the Basque country of Spain, originators of "tximitxurri", meaning "a mix of things in no particular order". I tend to lean towards the latter... but if I could paint my own chimmichurri origin story, I would love to believe that chimmichurri was an easy to make salsa and marinade created by the guachos.
In my mind, I imagine los Gauchos herding cattle over the rolling hills of Las Pampas. Long days protecting herds left them longing for some reprieve. What better a reprieve than a delicious meal?
As the sun set and the night sky twinkled, I imagine those gauchos lit a huge bonfire and cooked their meal over an open flame, as is tradition in Argentina. As the fire crackled and the meat caramelized, they may have whipped some chimmichurri together, a simple salsa and marinade, using simple ingredients that were easily available to them.
The result? A flavorful, savory escape from the harsh world of cattle herding.
Much like gauchos, I find chimmichurri is a sweet escape. It's flavors are so bold and earthy that indulging in the delicious green sauce is a sensory delight.
But for me, a first generation American on my mother's side, the flavors of our homeland offer a unique grounding experience that transport me to times spent in the countryside of Argentina as a teen and young adult.
A night spent enjoying chimmichurri is a night I'm reminded of the generations that came before me, of our Argentine Italian roots, and of the many memories we've made visiting our beloved Argentina.
My First Taste of Chimmichurri
I remember as a child sitting at my grandmother's table, cow hide beneath our feet (which she encouraged us to vacuum with her hand vacuum and we gladly obliged making it some sort of competition and game... you get creative when family parties go until midnight!) With a table full of family, bellies rumbling, we were eager for our late night meal to begin.
I remember distincly the smell of that black and white cowhide disappearing as the smell of empanadas, milanesas, and chimmichurri billowed forth from the kitchen.
Then there was that one fateful night...
I remember the first time I ever tried chimmichurri was with a little piece of bread. Questioning its greenness (it is very green), I was hesitant. But the moment those flavors struck my little 8-year-old palette, the rest was history. I was hooked and totally intrigued by Argentine cuisine.
It is my joy and honor to bring this recipe to your kitchen table and I hope you enjoy this savory treat as much as I do!
Ways to enjoy Chimmichurri
Chimmichurri is an excellent steak or shrimp marinade and can also be used as a dipping sauce for bread and bread sticks.
Chimmichurri is a simple marinade and salsa great for beef, steak, and dipping bread
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups olive oil
- 2 cup italian parsley
- 1/3 cup red wine viengar
- 1.5 tbsp salt (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp cumin (optional)
- 2 tsp red chili flakes
- black pepper (to taste)
Gather ingredients, and wash parsley
In a food processor, combine ingredients until parsley leaves are minced to the size of peppercorns
Enjoy as a dipping sauce for bread or as a marinade for steak or shrimp