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A Verdant, Versatile Sauce to Jazz Up Your Dinners (No, It's Not Pesto)

Food52 logo Food52 21/04/2017 Alexandra Stafford

© Provided by Food52 Earlier this week, I found myself back home in my parents’ kitchen, sitting at the counter, nibbling on cheese and crackers, sipping wine, watching my mother throw together dinner. After setting two cast-iron skillets over high heat, she sprinkled a layer of kosher salt on each and laid filets of arctic char on them. As the pans smoked away, the fish began cooking, its skin turning black, crispy, and heavily seasoned, its flesh light pink.

© Provided by Food52

© Provided by Food52 In less than five minutes, it was done and transferred from the skillet to a platter loaded with fat spears of roasted asparagus. My mother then spooned chimichurri, an herb sauce from Argentina, over everything. That's all.

Dinner took about 15 minutes to materialize, and as I tucked in, it struck me how versatile and refreshing this simple sauce is. My mother makes chimichurri year round, serving it aside whole roasted beef tenderloin in the winter, grilled skewered chicken thighs in the summer, and, as I just learned, pan-seared arctic char whenever it’s available.

Chimichurri is fresh and sharp and can be made in countless ways—spicy or not, puréed or chunky, garlicky or mild—and while it’s typically served with beef, it pairs well with all sorts of meat and fish, not to mention vegetables, beans and legumes. Its biggest virtue, I’d argue, is that allows the cook to simplify other preparations. With this sauce on hand, there’s no reason to marinate or to season with anything more than olive oil, salt, and pepper—anything else would get lost once met with the chimichurri.

© Provided by Food52 One tip: Make a double batch. Everything on your plate—any vegetables, grains or legumes, any nubs of bread, will beg for a drizzle of this bright, verdant sauce. Chimichurri makes everything better.

A few notes

Macerate the shallots: Allowing the shallots to soak in the fresh lemon and lime juice for at least 10 minutes will not only temper their bite, but also draw out their sweetness, which will make for a more balanced sauce. If pressed for time, however, you can stir together all of the sauce's ingredients and serve it immediately.

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© Provided by Food52 Stir, don’t whisk: As indicated above, there are many ways to make chimichurri, but I think it’s particularly good when the ingredients are chopped by hand (as opposed to puréed in a food processor) and stirred together, rather than emulsified. It’s visually appealing to see the individual elements of the sauce, and the chunky texture is nice, too.

Use a mix of herbs: Parsley and cilantro are traditional, but others, such as chives, tarragon, and fresh oregano, would be nice as well.

Don’t relegate the sauce to meat only: Vegetables, beans, and grains all welcome a drizzle of chimichurri. I’ve used this sauce to dress chickpeas and white beans. I've also stirred it into plain basmati rice.

E551c588 9e4d 4d33 8056 a7c7d4577869 platter © Provided by Food52 E551c588 9e4d 4d33 8056 a7c7d4577869 platter Pan-Roasted Arctic Char with Chimichurri

  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon, lime or a combination of the two juices, plus more wedges for serving
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus more for coating the fish
  • 1/2 cup finely minced cilantro, parsley or a combination of the two
  • 4 4- to 5-oz filets arctic char
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • bread, chickpeas or both for serving

5 Sauces That Will Help You Rule The Kitchen

(Provided by Refinery29)

<p>Classic French cooking, as we know it today, started with Marie-Antoined Carême, one of the original celebrity chefs. Way back in the 1800s, he identified the four sauces that were the basis of much of French cooking. A hundred years later, Georges Escoffier came up with the modern list of mother sauces: hollandaise, velouté, béchamel, espagnole, and tomate. From there, you can add a few simple ingredients to make just about every sauce, glaze, and soup in the French alphabet. Those resulting sauces are known as "daughter sauces."</p><p>If your'e ready to do your best Julie And Julia, we've rounded up five delicious recipes that will help you buff up on these five classic French sauces. Bon Appétit!</p> 5 Sauces That Will Help You Rule The Kitchen
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