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Last summer I tried chimichurri for the first time and fell in love quickly. Bright green thanks to fresh parsley, tangy from lemon and vinegar and with a pleasant but not overpowering punch of sweet shallot and garlic, I find chimichurri to be incredibly flexible and delicious on just about everything. It can be a marinade or a sauce. Traditionally associated with steak, it turns a humble cut of skirt steak into a magical dinner and is our go-to marinade for many cuts of beef on the grill. However, since we don’t eat beef often, it was necessary, and prudent, to do some tough experimenting to find other uses for chimichurri. The findings from my hard work? Chimichurri is great on chicken, halibut and cod; try the cod in tacos and see if it doesn’t make a good thing better. I mix a little into the dressing of my potato salad for color and flavor and drizzle it on quesadillas in place of tomatillo salsa for a change of pace. My favorite use for chimichurri is on grilled vegetables. Try grilled tomato halves with chimichurri and burrata cheese– life-changing. Use some as a marinade for mixed vegetable kebabs or to brighten up sauteed mushrooms for a burger topping. Despite all those fine options, the best, best way I know to use chimichurri is on fresh corn. Grill up a few ears tonight, brushed with chimichurri on the grill and served right on the cob, or cut off the kernels to make a quick and easy, warm or cold corn salad. (You’re welcome.)

chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Sauce (makes about 1 1/2 c.)

  • 1 1/4 c. (lightly packed) fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 T. sherry vinegar (preferred), or red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 c. olive oil

There are two ways to make chimichurri: smooth in a blender or food processor, or chunkier using a mortar and pestle. I prefer the smooth sauce (pictured above) as a marinade, but enjoy the ritual of preparing a rougher sauce using a large mortar and pestle. You can use whichever method you like.

To the jar of your blender (I use my Blendtec), add all ingredients and pulse until you have a bright green sauce. It’s so easy you won’t believe it. Transfer the chimichurri to a covered container and refrigerate between uses. It will stay good for about a month, if it lasts that long.

To use a mortar and pestle, start with the garlic, shallot, salt & red pepper, if using. Add a little oil and smash until you have a thick paste. Begin adding the parsley, a little at a time, and add lemon juice and vinegar once in a while when the paste becomes too thick. Continue until all ingredients are in the bowl and then work in the oil. Store in the refrigerator. Making the chimichurri this way means it is likely to separate between uses, which is no big deal– just give it a good shake or stir before using.

grilled corn basted with chimichurri

Grilled Chimichurri Corn: As simple as it sounds. Grill the husked corn as you would any other corn, stopping to baste with chimichurri every time you turn it. I usually let ours go about 10-15 mins. Serve it hot off the grill as pictured above, or cut the kernels from the cob and mix in 2-3 additional tablespoons of chimichurri to make an easy corn salad. The salad can be served hot or cold. Add in some halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion if you want, but it’s so good “plain” you don’t need to.

grilled corn salad with chimichurri