Chimichurri is to Argentina what pesto is to southern Italy. I mean it is really about the same thing. Chimichurri, (and isn’t that just fun to say?) is usually chopped herbs, languishing in a lovely pool of good olive oil, rather than the more emulsified pesto. This is a drizzle sauce…. Traditionally chimichurri is made with only parsley, but since when does The Goddess do traditional? Chimichurri also lends itself well to adding a portion of other herbs and additions—oregano, basil, cilantro, lemon verbena and mint. These are my favorites and I combine them with parsley, but find your own combination and feel free to stick with all parsley. I generally use at least half parsley, then add the other flavor(s). Now in this case, in addition to mint, I’m going to add one of my favorite flavors, I’m positive you’ve noticed this keeps cropping up in all sorts of things…orange. Get a grip and bear with me. Not only are we going to use frozen orange juice concentrate (FOJC), but also the zest and just to tie everything together, orange mint! Orange mint is beautiful, as well as very tasty. The orange is very subtle, but it also seems to temper the mintiness of the mint just a bit. Does that make any sense? Well, whatever it does, it works. This particular iteration of Chimichurri, works wonderfully well with lamb, but it’s equally at home drizzled over a steak or chicken. Chimichurri is perfect for the summer grilling season which is upon us. Without further ado, Orange-Orange Mint Chimichurri—
Orange-Orange Mint Chimichurri
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh orange mint (use any mint or cilantro, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves (or oregano)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, unthawed
- 4-6 teaspoons vinegar (red wine, cider, or white wine)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, but good…adjust to taste)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin or full-flavored olive oil
Combine garlic, parsley, marjoram (or oregano), mint and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor; whirl until the herbs are just chopped. This mixture should not be smooth, but the herbs should just be reasonably finely chopped. In a glass bowl, stir the orange juice concentrate and vinegar together; stir in the red pepper flakes, if using. Whisk in the olive oil until somewhat emulsified; this is not mayonnaise, so you will want a bit of separation. Dump the herb mixture into the bowl and stir until everything is combined; season the chimichurri with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to get to know each other.
COOK’S NOTE: Adjust the vinegar to taste. Sometimes the herbs are sweeter than other times, so this is a matter of personal taste. This sauce is great with grilled steak, chicken, salmon, shrimp or swordfish. This blend is exceptionally delicious with lamb. You may make this the day before, but return to room temperature before serving.
Orange-Orange Mint Chimichurri Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I combine the FOJC, vinegar, in this case it was white wine vinegar (remember NO WHITE VINEGAR!!), zest, garlic and salt, whisk that all together, then I add some red pepper flakes. You don’t need to add them, that’s up to you, but I do rather like that little nip of heat.
You may chop all the herbs by hand if you prefer, and frankly I usually do that, just ‘cuz. Okay, I like to chop herbs and you can control the consistency better when you do it by hand. But, it works just fine in a mortar and pestle or the food processor, too. Just watch so it doesn’t become a paste. If that should happen, then continue on, adding the oil slowly and make pesto, instead! It will still be delicious.
I ALWAYS add the olive oil by hand, as the food processor will over process this and you’ll end up with more of a pesto-like paste. It’s fine to do that, but this should be a drizzle sauce, not so much of a smear sauce.
Here are some of the mints I just purchased from Woodland Gardens. This is apple mint.
I think that with flavored mints, there really is less of the “other” flavor (not the mint part) involved and more of a scent, but each of these mints a just a little different and that makes them more interesting. Sometimes I just love the look of the leaves and the flavors are the bonus. One other thing, do feel free to tear up some mint leaves and toss them into you tossed salads…they are great little bite to find.
There are still many more “flavored” mints, but these are the ones I grow. Do find a corner of your yard that you really don’t care if it gets taken over, as mint will do just that. You can pull our a portion each spring (make pesto!!!) and keep it in check. You can grow mint in pots, which confines it; it over-winters in pots, at least here in the Northeast it does.
And finally, where to purchase these lovelies…Woodland Gardens has all these lovely herbs and more. Haul yourself over there and start your herb garden. Better yet, come on May 28th, for their Thursday Evenings in the Garden, between 5:00 and 7:30. The Goddess will be there, with some treats to try, including this one we’re talking about today. But more importantly, you’ll be able to get great gardening advise, purchase some great herbs, vegetables plants and a plethora of gorgeous flowers, too. They have a great staff, filled to the brim with knowledgable people…you’ll find a new friend there, I kid you not. Just so we’re clear, I have worked with the Woodland people for several years now. They do pay The Goddess when she does workshops for them, but I still purchase my plants there, with my very own money! They are everything I’ve said and more…and that, they don’t pay me to say!