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The Sauce of the Summer: Chimichurri Meats its Match in Malbec

Grilled steaks are a summertime no-brainer; whether you're feeding two or twenty, ...

throwing some expertly seasoned sides of beef on to some hot coals is easy and always delicious.

The curve ball comes when you start considering ways to kick up your cow cookin’. The typical sauces like béarnaise, hollaindaise, and blue cheese are way too heavy to slather on under the hot summer heat, and they’re a pain to prepare when dining al fresco, too. What’s a flavor-loving foodie to do? Why, chimichurri, of course! And wine, too, but that’ll come a little later…

This herbaceous sauce is an Argentine invention, and in our opinion the entire country deserves some sort of medal for this

Bowl of  Chimichurri Photo by Flickr User: Jason Lam - article by

Bowl of Chimichurri Photo by Flickr User: Jason Lam

oh-so-delectable gift to society. There is no one recipe for chimichurri; instead, each cook has their own personal take that usual includes some combination of parsley, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, salt, pepper, good olive oil, and perhaps some sweet or spicy peppers or other herbs and spices. The heat level varies, but one thing stays the same: this sauce packs a real punch.

We use a recipe put together by Lisa Goldfinger at Panning the Globe. Lisa takes inspiration from her travels and recreates dishes from all over the world, often giving them a healthy spin or making them more accessible to non-native cooks. But really, no one can explain her approach – and this awesome recipe – better than her:

“I’m just back from a week in Puerto Rico.  When I left, my yard was dull and the trees were bare.  When I returned it was as if someone had flipped the switch that turns winter to spring. The landscape went from gray to green.  My pink Azalea was flowering. And there was even some action in my herb garden – a little fountain of chives had sprouted up while I was away.  All this inspired me to put the cushions on the outdoor furniture and to fire up the barbecue. I decided on grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce.”

Chimichurri is the quintessential partner to grilled beef in Argentina, where the beef is renowned and where barbecued beef is considered their national dish.
The sauce is a vibrant mix of fresh parsley, vinegar, and spices – very simple and quick to make if you have a blender or a food processor.  Slather it on steak, chicken or fish.  Use it as a marinade.  I love to keep a stash of chimichurri in the fridge to jazz up burgers and sandwiches, too.”

We’re right there with you, Lisa, but we always have a couple bottles of Malbec on hand, too, because it’s the perfect wine to go with this Argentine masterpiece of a meal. There is something symbolic and beautiful about drinking a regional wine with food that originates from area. In this case the Malbec’s full-bodied swirl of blackberries and cherries are big enough to hold up to a fatty cut of meat, the tannins are integrated well enough to avoid competition with the bold flavors of the chimichurri, and the mid-high acidity keeps the wine from feeling flabby next to the sauce’s sharp notes of garlic, herbs, and, in some versions, onion. Bingo.

Get Lisa’s recipe for Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce here. Be sure to browse the rest of the site too; the recipe before is a mojito and the one after is grilled artichokes with lemon aioli. Need we say more?

Buy the Wine: Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2012, $20.99


94 Alta Vista 2006 Single Vineyard Temis (Uco Valley); $50  Opens with nice black fruit,  toast notes and vanilla spice. From the Uco Valley,  this full berry and plum flavored wine is sexy and smooth, which is just right with your perfectly done steak and chimichurri.



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