Recipes? Who needs recipes!
“I have a general guideline to get started and then maybe make it four or five times, and then start trusting your own tastes.”
That’s how Chef Dean Wirkerman tweaked Cardinal Spirits’ chimichurri. It’s a sauce of fresh herbs and olive oil traditionally served with grilled meat.
His most memorable chimichurri experience was at an Argentinian restaurant in Chicago many moons ago, and he’s still striving to match that flavor. “We did parsley for a while, but I felt cilantro made things more exotic,” he says.
This recipe is how he’s making chimichurri these days.
- 3 cups mint, finely chopped
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided use
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 2 to 3 pounds ribeye (roughly 1/3-pound meat per person)
- Salt, to taste
- Combine mint, cilantro, garlic, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add olive oil and salt to taste (more or less olive oil depending on how dry or saucy you’d like it to be). Cover and set at room temperature until ready to serve. When ready to serve, add the lemon juice to taste, and mix thoroughly. (Make-ahead note: Chimichurri can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the fridge, but don’t add the lemon juice until the day you’re using the sauce. Ideally, bring the sauce to room temperature before using.)
- Portion meat into 3/4-inch cubes and thread onto skewers. Cover and chill until ready to cook.
- One hour before serving, remove meat from fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Start grill or broiler and allow to come to high heat. Brush butter on all sides of the nuggets and season them with salt. Grill skewers 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.
- Toss seasonal greens, such as watercress or red leaf lettuce, in vinaigrette. Make a bed of the greens on the serving dish. Remove meat from skewers and arrange on top of greens. Drizzle chimichurri generously over meat.
Courtesy of Executive Chef Dean Wirkerman of Cardinal Spirits.