With the thought of yet ANOTHER heatwave in New York City this week, my mind is drifting to lighter recipes. And although I could eat some sort of cold salad creation every day, I also yearn for something hot off the barbecue. Now, I’m not one to shy away from a good pulled pork or rack of ribs. But pulled pork slathered in a tomatoey, sweet and spicy sauce seems too heavy when the thermometer is approaching 100 degrees. This weather calls for a barbecue sauce of a different variety….light, herby and garlicky chimichurri.
My love affair with chimichurri started on my first of many trips to Argentina several years ago. I’ve had countless steaks served with chimichurri in Buenos Aires….all of them tasty, but none of them as memorable as the food found in Argentina’s wine country. For truly fabulous food I head to Mendoza.
If you find yourself lucky enough to be heading to Argentina, it is more than worth the effort to add an excursion to Mendoza. Stay at one of my favorite hotels in the world, Cavas Wine Lodge. Upon arrival at Cavas, you are greeted by owners Martin and Cecilia….and a glass of wine from their extensive cellar (cava). From that moment on, you feel like family. Except that, unlike Martin and Cecilia, you don’t really live there, and will be expected to depart at the end of your stay. : (
In addition to the stunning, world class accommodations, their restaurant makes a fabulous steak…served with my beloved chimichurri sauce. Their staff will also plan an itinerary of winery visits, multi-course wine lunches and romantic dinners. During your down time, enjoy a treatment in their luxurious spa….perhaps a crushed malbec scrub followed by a bonarda wine bath???
Chimichurri Sauce (inspire by the restaurant at Cavas Wine Lodge)
Feel free to play with the amounts and types of herbs, and you can substitute lemon juice for the red wine vinegar if you like it lemony. This keeps well in the refrigerator, and goes great on any grilled meats, fish, or vegetables. I sometimes add a tablespoon or two to salad dressing for a garlicky-herbal kick to my basic vinaigrette.
1 large handful of parsley (torn from the top of a bunch), large pieces of stem removed
4-6 stems of fresh oregano (leaves only, discard stems)
3-4 cloves garlic (or 1 clove elephant garlic)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more if you like it salty!)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Combine all ingredients in bowl of food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a glass jar (plastic will get too smelly) and store up to 2 weeks in refrigerator. Use liberally on meats, fish, and vegetables. Bring to room temperature before using. And book that trip to Argentina!