I know, I know. We’re not supposed to serve anything with bits of green at a party, but we’re all friends. If someone starts to bare their teeth ever so slightly and seems to be fighting an uncontrollable urge to stick a fingernail between two teeth, take that as a cue to excuse yourself to the bathroom for a green speck check. What else are you supposed to do when basil is in season?
I have to admit something. I still have basil pesto in my freezer from last summer. It’s true. I like the stuff a lot – once a year. It’s just too rich for me. It’s easy to overdose on it. So, I like to use my basil to make chimichurri instead. It still holds the wonderful basil flavor and you can use it much the same, but it’s just a little lighter. I learned about chimichurri while living in Ecuador where it was mostly made from parsley and used as a condiment for meat or empanadas. Every now and then, in different restaurants, I detected different herbs. That was all the permission I needed to think outside the box with chimichurri. I have made it with whatever herbs I have on hand, and it always tastes great.
My patio herb pot is exploding, so I plucked a huge pile of greens including rosemary, thyme and sage. The basil came from the CSA, and the cilantro is local but from the co-op. As you can see, chimichurri is a great accompaniment to fresh tomatoes, a lovely spread on sandwiches or a great condiment for any warm savory summer dish.
Herb Chimichurri Recipe
All herb amounts are approximate:
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 handful fresh sage
- 1/2 tsp. dried pepper flakes (optional: fresh chile)
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- freshly ground pepper
Directions: Pulse in food procesor until well blended. This will be a little chunkier than pesto.