Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chim-chiminy, Chim-chiminy, Chim-i-churri!

Kinda sick of mango salsa and Yoshida's teriyaki sauce?  Branch out with something just as easy--chimichurri sauce! It's bright, slightly spicy, a murmur of sweet, and oh-so-refreshing. I first met chimichurri a few years ago at the Puyallup Farmer's Market from a homemade sauce, pesto and marinade vendor.  It's traditionally an Argentinian sauce that migrated eventually to Nicaragua and Mexico, and finally to the United States where it's becoming popular as a marinade for steaks and roasts, and a sauce for milder meats like chicken and fish. 

Last night I started having a craving.  White fish.  It's been so many years with such little seafood (due to one fish-hater husband), and when I do make fish it's always salmon.  Which, don't get me wrong, is fantastic.  Especially the Chinook salmon Matt and his dad reel out of the Columbia river.  I haven't actually bought a piece of fish in a similar stretch of time.  But what I was missing is light yet buttery white fishes:  trout, mahi mahi, tilapia, cod...  My mom used to make these little cod rolls with cheese and paprika baked in a shallow dish, served with simple rice pilaf.  I miss those!  I could almost taste them as I planned tonight's dinner, halibut with chimichurri sauce.  Not cheesy, but just right for a nice warm night.  I mixed up the super-easy chimichurri sauce in my Pampered Chef dressing mixer, which is awesome because it has a little built-in whisk.  It's great for storing the leftovers and mixing it back up when the oil separates.  I picked the halibut up on my lunch at Whole Foods, where they sell it in perfect little individual steaks and wrap it in adorable faux-newspaper that makes me smile.  Quality and whimsy?  Oh I love you Whole Foods and your impeccably-designed foodie brand!  I grabbed Matt a steak over at the butcher counter, just so he wouldn't miss out on the premium quality fun.

I used the grill basket for the fish, just in case it started to fall apart a bit.  Good call, because it did as I tried to remove it.  I'd hate to have lost it into the grill abyss.  It still cooked up perfectly, despite avoiding a direct grill.

I know it's not the blog "focus," but I just have to put a picture here of Matt's gorgeous steak sear.  It tasted better than it looked.  Hurray for good steak, which would ALSO be wonderful with chimichurri!  Sliced up and drizzled with the chim and served in corn tortillas, you'd have one hell of a twisted fajita.

Anyhow, I served the moist, buttery fish with Whole Foods' Broccoli Crunch salad.  One of my favorites that I haven't tried to duplicate (because they do such a damn good job), it's lightly dressed with the best chunks of bacon and nuggets of salty, crunchy cashews.  Such a fresh, summery treat had Matt volunteering to eat outside.  We watched our new bark dust, spotted the sprouting bulbs and marveled at how crazy the peas have gone in the past couple weeks.  It didn't quite satiate my craving for white fish, but intensified it.  I've got a taste for delicious fish, and I don't think I can stop until I make my way across the entire fish counter, from oysters to lobster tank.  Looks like I'll need more chimichurri sauce.  I hope that by midsummer I'll have enough parsley in the backyard to whip up batches on a whim.  But if I have to go to the store, that's okay too.  I can't grow a lemon tree out here, much to my heartbreak.

Grilled Halibut with Chimichurri Sauce from Epicurious
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3/4 teaaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 (6- to 8-ounce) halibut steaks (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, shallot, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper until salt has dissolved. Stir in parsley. Let chimichurri stand 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
Pat fish dry, then brush with vegetable oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (total).
Oil grill rack, then grill fish, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total.
Serve fish drizzled with some of chimichurri; serve remainder on the side.


  1. This is prettier than Bon Appetit! It sounds so light and healthy too. I'll have to give that sauce a try.

  2. My brother lived in Argentina for 2 years, and his chimichurri sauce is really, really good. . . I had never heard of it being used on anything but beef before! So, I've learned something new today :-)

    As always, this dish looks/sounds delicious!!!