Like many of its condiment cousins, this one — chimichurri — is versatile! Not unlike pesto, this basil and herb-based sauce can be a marinade, dipping sauce, and more.
I first tried chimichurri years ago, on my first visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Luckily my friend Maria Rosa (who, in addition to being an educator, tango dancer and amazing sculptor, also cooks!) shared the ingredients she usually uses. After my next visit (and my tango lessons!) I started taking more notes, and playing around with ingredients. The result was this version, though I may vary it depending on available ingredients and more. (For example, after traveling to Zanzibar, I discovered the wonders of toasting cumin seeds and have started doing that before I add them.) In addition to varying the components, I’m still discovering ways to use it—which wow, is part of the fun of cooking anything!
Here the chimichurri is spread “bruschetta-like” on crisp toasts. (Actually, we just made it in a cooking class last week at Don Coqui’s and wow, it was — as always — a big hit!) With summertime inching closer, can’t help but suggest it as the perfect barbecue addition in one of its many incarnations (as marinade or spread). Let me know how you like it!
The recipe, after the jump.
Crisp Toasts with Chimichurri
from Mambo Mixers,©2005, Arlen Gargagliano
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Makes about 1 1/4 cups chimichurri
1 long French baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig oregano
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Leaves from 6 sprigs thyme
15 basil leaves, plus additional for garnish (if desired)
1 bunch fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, plus additional chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350º F. spread the rounds on a baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Let cool and store in an airtight container until your ready to use them.
Combine all the ingredients, except for the parsley or basil garnish, in a food processor or a blender and process till smooth. Use the chimichurri immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Return to room temperature and mix well prior to serving.
To prepare the tostadas, set the bread rounds on a platter and spread the chimichurri on top. Sprinkle with basil ribbons or chopped parsley and serve immediately.