Fit Pantry - a Fit Foodie's thoughts, tips and recipe

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Customizing Chimicurri Sauce

A thin slap of beef steak over spinach pesto pasta
My girlfriend took me to a hole in the wall Peruvian restaurant in West Covina, called Mr. Pollo. The food was off the hook! The place was continuously busy. People just kept on coming in and out, mostly ordered the food to go due to limited seating in the tiny place. After we got our food, my friend brought some sauces to our table. She said, " This is chimicurri sauce and that is something spicy."  Tasted a dab of the spicy stuff and decided that's not for me. But the chimicurri sauce though, I LIKE!

I normally don't eat too much of oily sauce (olive oil included) since my stomach can't handle it. This is, however, too good to skip. She told me she usually took extra sauce home to flavor her dish at home. Good idea. Although, I plan to make some of my own.

Turns out there are plenty of variations of chimicurri recipes. You can't find 2 recipe that are exactly the same. It got me thinking that this must be a very easy and forgiving sauce, mixed ingredients to the preference of the person who make it. Since I never made one before, I decided to use one of the recipe.

The core ingredients are: Olive oil, Vinegar (red wine/apple cider/regular, or simply lemon juice), salt and pepper, garlic, and Parsley (or Cilantro).
Some recipes also use: Oregano, both Parsley and Cilantro, Red Pepper Flakes, Mint.

Batch #1 of the sauce I was using: evoo, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Parsley (mainly), Cilantro (some), Oregano (a little), and Red Pepper Flakes.

I used a food processor to blend all of the ingredients in, including the evoo. The result was a slightly spicy sauce with the consistency of a pesto. It was good and rich, but not at all like the sauce at that restaurant.

Then it got me thinking... it was a self serve sauce, meaning the restaurant can't afford to spend a lot of money on making that sauce. The cost of the ingredients should be as bottom as possible and the types of ingredients should be as few as possible. I recall only the strong notes of cilantro, garlic and a bit of tanginess. So time to do more experiments and rearrange the recipe I found.

After 2 more tries, I think I got it :)  Pretty simple too!  Here is the recipe I like:


2 cups of cilantro
5 cloves garlic
1/3 apple cider vinegar*
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cups of mint*

*or any kind vinegar you have: red wine, regular, or simply lemon juice. If you want to make this a dipping sauce, I suggest using red wine or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. 
*The third batch I made I added mint and I like how it adds a subtle note to the sauce.

Mix salt and pepper in the olive oil, set it aside. I prefer using my handy kitchen knife to chop all of the leaves and garlic, but you can use food processor to blend the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until everything is chopped and mixed, usually not too fine, occasionally scrape the side of the food processor with a spatula to push the leaves down.

The next step is your call: if you want consistency like pesto, run the motor again while pouring the olive oil mix in. Otherwise, run the motor very slow, or simply mix the olive oil to the batch in a bowl with spatula.  I personally like the second option.

Transfer the sauce into a glass jar, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavor meld together. Take out of the fridge and let it unchill a little bit before serve.

The sauce is good for: dipping sauce, glaze over grill or pan-fry meat/fish, salad, over bread, toss pasta with, cook rice or quinoa, etc.

Now go try it and enjoy :)


2 cups flat leaves parsley
1 cup cilantro
1/4 cup oregano
8 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil

Same method of making the sauce as above. This one has a spicy note from the red pepper flakes.

Ingredients for the experiments

I like chopping mine really fine

Yes I love using knife :)

Careful of your hand and fingers though

Minced the garlic fine

I didn't use food processor for this batch. All ingredients are mixed in a bowl

First is the salt pepper & vinegar

Then olive oil

Just stir. Simple, right?

Transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate to let the flavor meld

Pretty green color :)

No comments:

Post a Comment