Authentic Argentine Chimichurri Sauce

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Chimichurri sauce seems to be everywhere at the moment. There are some versions flecked with red chilli, some that resemble loose vinegary dressings and some that are piled up high in big spoonfuls, like finely chopped salads, on top of steaks and burgers. These are all fine, and undoubtedly all delicious, but real, authentic Argentine chimichurri is a bit different.  

The first thing: authentic chimichurri - the kind families serve up on hot Sunday lunchtimes with their asado - is not spicy. Chopped red chillies, cayenne pepper and the like can all be added but aren't traditional. Sometimes, a little pimentón is added for flavour, but that's about it. This is the chimichurri that I tasted in Argentina: strongly-flavoured with garlic, heady with the flavour of parsley and with just enough vinegar to take the greasiness out of the moist, chargrilled meat that it's served with.

chimichurri salsa
Chimichurri blitzed in a processor - a smoother, pesto-like sauce

The second thing is that chimichurri is insanely easy to make, and once you've got the basic recipe down, you can tweak it to suit your own personal taste. Loosen it up with some more vinegar or oil, leave the parsley chunky or blitz until it resembles a fine pesto. I asked a few different families for the recipe and no one gave me quantities: just the basic ingredients. Just keep adding and tasting until it tastes right for you and your steak. Chimichurri is gorgeous in burgers or spread into a sausage sandwich in a crusty white roll. It's also wonderful dabbed onto grilled chicken. 

Here's how you make a good, authentic, chimichurri salsa. 

from my ebook SPICE
Makes about 8 spoonfuls

  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 12g bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • pinch sea salt and a little grinding of pepper (omit pepper for AIP)
  • quarter tsp smoked paprika/pimentón (omit for AIP)

Either chop the parsley and garlic finely, or blitz in a processor if you prefer it more smooth. Trickle in the olive oil and vinegar and season with the salt, pepper and paprika or pimentón. Give it a stir and have a taste. Does it need more vinegar, to sharpen it up? More salt? Perhaps you prefer a little more pimentón, to give it a smoky spice. Keep tasting and seasoning until it's right for you, and then spoon into a jar or container and keep in the fridge. 

asado tio benicio chicken chimichurri
Home-made (hand-chopped) chimichurri salsa on top of some chicken, at an Argentinian asado

Like this recipe? Find this and over 90 more AIP compliant, paleo recipes in my ebook SPICE. Play with herbs and spices and add flavour to your food! Check it out here