Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Francis Mallman's Chimichurri

Conde N'ast Traveler names Argentinian Chef Francis Mallman as one of Latin America's pre-eminent chefs. He owns a very chic restaurant in Garzon UY, in the same Maldonado department where we own property.

The NY Times declares that EL Garzon is one of 10 restaurants worth a plane ride. We didn't make it to his restaurant on our last trip and we don't customarily jump aboard a jet to have dinner. However, we do own his grilling bible, Seven Fires, Grilling The Argentine Way.
One of more memorable dining experiences in Uruguay was at the Estancia Del Puerto. Along with the superbly simple grilled meats, red pepper and provolone, we were served red and green sauces on the side. It was so good that I ate at least half a cup of the chimichurri by myself.

Recently, buying grass fed, pastured beef direct from the farm reminded us of the flavor of the great grills we had all over Uruguay. Of course, I wanted to replicate them so I pulled down our copy of Seven Fires from the kitchen shelf. Only, in my little coastal hometown, I need a permit to have an open fire if I want to bbq like the Argentines and Uruguayans. And we don't own a grill. Also, it is hotter than Dante's fourth circle of Hell in Florida this July. But Mallman's chimichurri sauce over a rare steak cooked in a cast iron skillet I can do. Be warned: a taste of this authentic sauce and you may have hallucinations of gauchos and tango.

Francis Mallmann’s Chimichurri

Photo credit: ecleticcook.com

1 cup water
1 tbs. coarse salt
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh oregano leaves (I used 3-4 tbsp dried with good results)
2 tsp. crushed red- pepper flakes
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the salt, and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Mince the garlic very finely, and put in a medium bowl.

(1) Mince the parsley and oregano, and add to the garlic, along with the red-pepper flakes.

(2) Whisk in the red-wine vinegar, then the olive oil. Whisk in the salted water.

(3) Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and keep in the refrigerator. Let the flavors mingle for at least a day, and serve with grilled meats. The sauce can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 weeks

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