Chimichurri — if you weren’t familiar with it, is this green marinade/sauce from South America (Argentina comes to mind). Typically the regular recipe is parsley, garlic, some sort of acid like vinegar or lime juice, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. It is almost like a pesto, except without any nuts to bind it together. However, I found a great way to enhance the flavor with something slightly different. A secret ingredient that turns it into a savory masterpiece.
No, seriously. Are you ready?
The answer is: Fish Sauce!
Fish sauce is a Southeast Asian condiment/sauce that comes from fermented fish (I know, that sounds gross). I am Korean and we used it in a lot of food while I was growing up. It smells like buttholes, but tastes complex and savory. I mean buttholes in the best way. Fish sauce is my secret ingredient in a lot of things to bring out an additional dimension of flavor in any dish. Also, I said buttholes.
[Pic fish sauce]
My version is as follows:
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh cilantro (this is not traditional, you could use basil, chives, anything else you like or have)
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh lime juice
- Red wine vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fish sauce
- Salt and Pepper for taste
Couldn’t be easier to build this stuff — just shove it all in a blender and make judgment calls on how much lime juice to red wine vinegar you like for flavor. I only use one garlic clove as the flavor is bold and any more might actually hijack the flavor of the herbs. Use a lot of olive oil — it’ll be your main liquid, and just use a very small dash of fish sauce. This is one of those things you should taste as you go along just to make sure it is okay.
Another judgment call is how finely you blend it. Some people just hand chop the stuff and mix it in a bowl by hand (I guess it’s more rustic/homey that way), but I use a blender and puree the shit out of it. Flavor becomes much more uniform that way.
Best of all? Use this on anything. I mean anything at all. You can marinate pork (as I did), any seafood including fish or shrimp, steaks, roasts, tofu, or even dip bread in it. I even use this to enhance salsas (I’ll have a new recipe for this later). Typically people like to marinate meat in it then grill it for that last bit of charred flavor.
Also, while you’re waiting for your pork to marinate, you can do other productive things around the kitchen like this: