Kind of a parsley pesto, chimichurri is a spicy, vinegary, olive oil sauce that’s most often served with grilled meat—like my new favorite steak, skirt steak. For more about skirt steak, see this post.
But don’t stop there—chimichurri is great for giving zip to a variety of dishes. I spoon it over provolone cheese toasts to pair with Zinfandel in a recipe from my “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates” cookbook, I thin it with a bit more oil and vinegar for a salad dressing, and I LOVE it drizzled over salmon.
- FOR THE CHIMICHURRI
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 15 to 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- FOR THE SKIRT STEAK
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, ideally outside skirt
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
To make the chimichurri, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, oregano, garlic, chipotle, salt, and pepper and process to form a pesto-like sauce, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if you like. (You can prepare the chimichurri up to 2 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
To make the steak, first notice that the grain of the meat (the stripe of the muscle fibers) runs width-wise. This will come into play when you slice it later. Now cut the steak into two or three 5- to 7-inch lengths.
Preheat a large skillet large enough to hold the steak pieces without crowding over high heat or a grill to high heat.
Meanwhile, pat the steak pieces dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper.
If using a skillet, when the skillet is good and hot, add the oil. When the oil is good and hot, add the steak pieces. If using a grill, when the grill is good and hot, use the oil to lightly oil the grate, then add the steak pieces.
Cook undisturbed until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and cook until the other side is well browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Notice the grain, or the stripes in the meat, again. Thinly slice the steak pieces across the grain (perpendicular to the stripes). Arrange the slices on plates or a platter and drizzle with the chimichurri. Serve any remaining chimichurri at the table.
NOTE To dry brine the steak, after cutting it into pieces, arrange the pieces on a rimmed baking sheet or, ideally, on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides with 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt. Set the steak aside in the refrigerator, ideally uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and set aside at room temperature for 45 minutes. Proceed with the recipe, omitting the salt.