When it comes to grilling, my modus operandi is simple: use good quality products – of which there are many hanging out around the markets these days – and coat them liberally with a persuasive sauce, marinade, or condiment.
Are you familiar with chimichurri? This Argentinian dressing is one of my favorites, and boasts the freshest of flavors thanks to the marriage of simple garden herbs (parsley and oregano) garlic, jalapeño, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
Vibrant and fragrant, this sauce is my go-to summer seasoning and makes a frequent appearance at my dinner table in the warm-weather months.
Extremely versatile, this topping can be used for so much more than a meat marinade. While I certainly don’t discount that idea as it turns an ordinary piece of protein into something rather spectacular, I’ve also been known to use it to:
- combine with mayonnaise for a sauce to smear over my sandwiches
- toss with barbecued veggies, like asparagus, mushrooms, red peppers, and potatoes
- brush it over fish kebabs and quick-cooking chicken cutlets
- use as a dipping sauce for grilled bread
- mix with cooked pasta, sliced barbecued steak or chicken, fresh corn kernels, sliced zucchini, tiny tomatoes, and chopped peppers for an Argentinian-inspired pasta salad.
In fact, this one sauce works for all meats, most produce, and can be turned into the easiest dip you might make this year.
There are plenty of variations on this flexible condiment, allowing you to play around with the ingredients as they suit you. I’m partial to adding a pinch of smoked paprika to my concoction – I find it easier on a child’s palate than the warmth of the more commonly used cayenne or crushed red pepper – but if you don’t have that available don’t let it be a deal-breaker on trying the recipe.
If you prefer lemon to vinegar, give that a try; if it’s Thai chili peppers you fancy, then please feel free to use those in place of the suggested jalapeño. Consider swapping the oregano for thyme or rosemary, and alternatively try one of my personal favorite modifications: replace half of the parsley with fresh cilantro.
Just start with this basic version, and gussy it up as you see fit.
- 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2/3 cup good-quality olive oil
- 1/4 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Combine the parsley, oregano, garlic, and jalapeño in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8-12 times or until the ingredients are minced.
- Transfer herbs to a small bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and smoked paprika. Adjust seasoning if desired.
- To use as a meat marinade, divide the sauce into two portions using half as a marinade, and the other half as a dressing when the meat is cooked.
Tell me, what is your favorite marinade for summer grilling?