Asado is a staple of Argentine culture and cooking. The word loosely translates to the English word barbecue; it can be an actual event or it can refer to the food. There’s no limit to the types and cuts of meat that can be piled on the parrilla for an asado.
Just like its North American brethren, no asado would be complete without condiments. The most common in Argentina would have to be chimichurri, a sauce typically made of chopped parsley, garlic, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. I’d had chimichurri before at Argentinian steakhouses in the USA and was never really bowled over. But then I tried the chimichurri at a hole-in-the-wall parrilla serving choripan in San Telmo. The greasy, murky jar with the little plastic spoon may not have been so visually appealing, but that ish was delish. I had to make some at home.
Chimichurri can also be used as a marinade before grilling, and I’ve found this recipe complements steak, pork and chicken. It’s definitely best with grilled meats, but I’ve used it with braised meat as well and have even mixed it with cooked quinoa for a tasty side dish.
This recipe is adapted from one in Bon Appétit.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 red jalapeño, finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped parsley
2 T. dried oregano (or 1/3 fresh, chopped)
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, garlic, shallot and chile in a medium bowl and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil. If using as a marinade, reserve at least a 1/2 cup of the chimichurri, sprinkle with salt to taste, and use later as a sauce. For the marinade, put meat in a glass, stainless steel or ceramic dish and toss with remaining chimichurri. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight before grilling.