Happy Fourth of July everyone! Welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen, I am happy you’re here this week. I have an easy one today. Today’s recipe focuses on an herby green sauce, specifically two condiments with endless possibilities for swaps and substitutes. I’m talking about chimichurri and gremolata. Chimichurri and gremolata are similar – they both contain chopped parsley and minced garlic. They both are uncooked sauces, typically served with meat dishes.
Two Popular Green Sauces
Gremolata is a Milanese condiment which consists of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic. It is the traditional accompaniment to ossobuco alla milanese and goes well with other rich meat dishes.
Chimichurri hails from Argentina and Uruguay. It is olive oil-based and otherwise contains finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, red wine vinegar and oregano. Chimichurri is served alongside grilled meats.
You can easily see how the ingredients from both can be intermixed to create something new and different. I do this all the time. I usually have some version in a jar in the fridge. It’s the perfect condiment for anything calling for an herby brightness. We put it on steak; it’s great on turkey sandwiches. While it goes so well with rich meat dishes, it’s also fabulous on roasted vegetables and dressing a salad.
How to Make Herby Green Sauce
Today we are making a cross between chimichurri and gremolata to dress a grilled tri-tip steak. This is a great way to serve thinly sliced steak and be done, but we are going to warm up a few tortillas and have informal steak tacos.
For the green sauce we are making today, I am taking the citrus cue from gremolata and adding lime zest and a little lime juice. We have our garlic, and I am going to finely dice a red Fresno chile for a little heat. What makes this more chimichurri-style than gremolata is that it’s olive oil based.
First, let’s finely chop the parsley. If I wasn’t going to use what I had on hand, I might have used cilantro instead of parsley – which would be perfect for tacos. One bunch of parsley is enough, and don’t be afraid to use the stems. We are chopping this so finely that the stems won’t be an issue.
Then, I diced my Fresno chile and added it to my chopped parsley. I am skipping a bowl and using a 4 cup Pyrex to mix it all up.
Using a microplane, I zested one lime. I also used my microplane to grate my garlic clove, but you can use a garlic press, or just finely chop it. I used one clove of garlic. Just zest the lime and grate the garlic straight into the Pyrex.
Then drizzle olive oil until you get a consistency that you like. I might have about three tablespoons here.
Mix it all together well and add the juice from half of your zested lime. I tossed in a generous pinch of Kosher salt and a few cranks of fresh black pepper. Mix it up and taste it. Add more of whatever you feel it needs: more salt, more pepper, more lime juice (acid), olive oil (fat) more garlic… This mixture can sit in a jar in the fridge, ready to add to any dish you like. Just let it come to room temperature to loosen up the olive oil before you use it.
Like I mentioned at the top, we are topping a grilled tri-tip with our sauce and layering slices of steak in soft warm tortillas.
We sliced the steak thinly, against the grain, and poured on the green sauce.
I used my tortilla warmer to microwave a few street-taco-size tortillas. These particular tortillas are a hybrid of flour and corn, but straight corn or flour would be great as well.
We topped it off with some roughly diced white onion and that was it! So simple and so delicious!
Today’s post is all about intuitive cooking and green sauces are an easy way to experiment with herby flavor combinations to add complexity, and brightness to any dish. In 2016, one of my favorite chefs, Samin Nosrat wrote an article for the New York Times called Five Sauces for the Modern Cook. In it, she introduces the five new “mother sauces” for any cook to master. It should be no surprise that one of them is a green, herby salsa.
Samin Nosrat is the author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She is an advocate for intuitive cooking and her book explains the roles salt, fat, acid, and heat play in cooking. Once you understand how each element works, you don’t need recipes to be a good cook because you can gain an intuition about how to use these four main elements.
Thank you again for joining me today. I hope you use this post as a jumping off point for your own experimentation with herby green sauce. If you’re looking for a last minute recipe to make today, check out my recipe for Fried Chicken or for a fresh summer salad, try Ceviche. Have a safe and happy Independence Day, everyone! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Take care, be well, xo Kelly