I went to tea with a friend last week--a special treat, as our schedules never seem to line up. We went to a tea house in town that has ornate pillars and a colorful ceiling, both patiently carved by artists in Tajikistan and shipped to Boulder when I was young. I remember when the tea house opened, because it's artistic walls and attention to detail were unlike anything I had ever seen.
You can not help but be inspired when you sit in this tea house, as it is a work of a art that just radiates energy. The menu is a mishmash of food from all around the world, even at breakfast, when you can order a German Sausage or a Greek Egg Scramble (when I ordered). And of course since it's a tea house, you can also order a pot of almost any tea blend or tisane. The global experience is a subtle reminder that you don't always have to follow the rules: a Tajikistan themed building can serve whatever it wants, and it can still be good. Scratch that, it can still be amazing.
So yea, you can have a pot of Lady Gray Tea next to a plate filled with something from the other side of the world, if you please, and you can be happy about it too--why not? You can also serve Chimichurri sauce, a South American tradition, over whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy. After making a huge batch of the stuff and smearing it everything, this was key. My favorite was simple roasted zucchini. The sauce is meant for steak, but I've always had an undeniable love for zucchini so serving it with Chimichurri felt natural. Then I tasted it, and knew that even though this recipe doesn't quite fit "here" nor "there" on a map of cuisines, it doesn't matter, because it's delicious anyways.
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 4 zucchini and/or summer squash
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 cup parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper (serrano if you like it less spicy)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning the zucchini
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the zucchini
- Prep the zucchini: Preheat to oven 450°F. While it heats, slice off the stem and end of each zucchini/summer squash. Then, slice each one into sixths, the long way. Toss in coconut or avocado oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spread out on baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, and then turn the oven to a high broil for 1-2 more minutes, until the edges turn a crispy brown.
- Make the sauce: Place the parsley, cilantro, oil, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, jalapeño, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse until everything is finely diced.
- Serve zucchini on plate and spoon sauce over top to taste.
The fridge is often a sad place for bunches of cilantro and parsley, in my kitchen, at least. I loooove fresh herbs, and if a recipe calls for fresh cilantro or parsley, there's no way I'm skimping, but it's been a long--looooong- time since I've bought a bunch of cilantro or parsley and used it all before it began to wilt.
Some times I'll sort out a bunch of cilantro straight from the beginning, and place in it a vase with water to keep it fresh for a few extra days. And it works, for a few days, but the last remaining stems always hang around until they're far past "usable".
This recipe, though, is perfect for those just-beginning-to-wilt bunches of cilantro and parsley in your fridge. The only real problem is you'll fall in love with using Chimichurri sauce and you'll being buying parsley and cilantro just to make this recipe, and well, the vicious cycle of buying bunches of fresh herbs, using half, and letting the other half wilt will begin. At least, that's how it happened with me. Luckily, this sauce stays nice an fresh in your fridge for at least a week, so you can make a BIG batch (go ahead, use the entire bunch of parsley!) and then put it on everything you eat: eggs, sandwiches, burgers, chicken, fish--the list goes on.
My number one favorite use of Chimichurri sauce right now: using it as a marinade for chicken and throwing it on the grill. Then topping that chicken with even more sauce. It's vibrant and fresh, making it the ultimate grill-out dish, when you tire of standard BBQ sauce. Plus if you, like me, have be wishing for a little vacation lately, this meal will remind you of somewhere south of the border... a little bit of South America in a bite!
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 1/4 white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup cilantro, packed
- 1/3 cup parsley, packed
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 jalapeño
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional, for extra-spice: dash of cayenne
- 1 pound boneless chicken (cutlets, breasts, or thighs)
For the chicken:
- Please the onion, jalapeño, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced. Next, add the cilantro and parsley, and drizzle in the vinegar and oil. Pulse until the herbs are minced. Add a few cracks of salt and pepper, and the oregano. Pulse 2 or 3 more times. Taste, and add additional salt/pepper to your preferences. If you prefer a spicier sauce (or you find that the jalapeño you used was quite mild), add a dash of cayenne to taste. Use a spatula to scrap sauce into a jar.
- For the chicken: Place chicken in a zip lock or shallow dish for marinating. Pour 3/4 of chimichurri sauce into container, and give it all a shake to ensure all of the chicken is coated. Cover (or seal zip lock) and place in fridge for 8-12 hours to marinate.
- When ready to cook: heat grill to 375-450°F. Place chicken on grill and allow to sear on one side for 5 minutes. (Discard any marinade that remains in the container). Flip chicken, and sear on the second side for 5-10 more minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through before serving: cooking time will vary greatly on thickness of cut of meat. Juices should run clear and meat should no longer be pink. Serve hot, with reserved chimichurri sauce as a topping.