In Madrid, we had a fantastic lunch at De Maria, an Argentinian parrilla located on the Gran Via. We loved it so much we went again (within a three days!) and even considered going again.
Aside from the frosty air con (Madrid in 37°C swelter is no fun!), great ambience and impeccable service, they do a fantastic steak. Their humble short rib steak, seared on the parrilla is to-die-for. Along side they always served a big bowl of chimmichurri sauce. A little spicy, a lot oily and chunky with dried herbs and chilli flakes. The taste of the deep red, ointment-like sauce haunted me for the rest of the trip.
On the hunt for a similar recipe, we quickly discovered chimmichurri is usually a bright green sauce involving lots of parsley. Not quite the fiery red sauce we’d known and loved. And because of the fresh ingredients, the green chimmichurri can only keep in the fridge for a few days, max.
So for a while there, I lost hope of finding a decent recipe.
But, I think we found it. Nothing can replicate the taste of being on holidays, but this comes very close. It’s chunky, red and can sit in the cupboard, getting better with age.
I like the idea of adding additional fresh herbs to the sauce. The husky flavours of the dried herbs plus the sweetness of fresh herbs makes the sauce more complex. If you do add the fresh version of the herbs, refrigerate and consume within three days.
The amounts of herbs and spices should be altered according to taste. Initially, the sauce will have quite a strong oregano, garlic, smokey paprika taste with some heat.
5 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp dried parsley
3 tbsp chilli flakes
5 tbsp dried garlic granules or flakes (if using garlic powder, reduce quantity by half)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 scant tbsp sea salt
1 tsp hot chilli powder (optional – this gives kick and a firey red colour)
pinch of freshly ground pepper
90 ml red wine vinegar
200 ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
Put all the dry ingredients into a clean jar. Combine with a fork to break up any lumps. Add vinegar and olive oil. Close jar and store in your cupboard until your next bbq.
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