Sunday, June 21, 2015

Culantro Questions Answered: Chimichurri


Culantro!
Last year when I'd posted about the wonder of culantro, (corriander/cilantro's tasty cousin), I'd promised reader "PR" that I'd make a chimichurri sauce with culantro and would get back to him. Well, a few health problems and a couple of failed culantro plantings later, I'm a man of my word.

Since chimichurri is, like bbq and curry, a catch-all term for a variety of regional preparations, I tried to stay as close to what I've known as a chimichurri while borrowing and tweaking from other recipes. Here's my version:

1 Cup of culantro leaves
4 Cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano
1/4 Cup red bell pepper
1/4 Cup red onion
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (California Olive Ranch goodness) until smooth (around a quarter cup-isn?).

WARNING: Culantro leaves are POKEY. If you don't want your fingers pricked, grow cilantro. ;)

They are not, however, pokey once blended into submission.

Pulse the garlic until finely chopped in a food processor or Osterizer. Add everything else except the olive oil and give it a few more pulses. Slowly add olive oil until it all begins to smooth and then keep going until you have a lovely green sauce.

The recipe that I was riffing on called for red or white wine vinegar, but I skipped it altogether, figuring that I could add it if it had needed it, but it didn't need it.

I'd made it to go on roasted chicken, but I'm going to give it a go on other meats too. It's more delicate than I'd imagined, but the culantro flavor comes through wonderfully. Give it a go with your grilling this summer.

Chimichurri!