Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce in a bowl of Fresh Salad
What is Chimichurri sauce?
Chimichurri Sauce is an Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine. It is an uncooked sauce use as a table condiment for mostly grilled meats. This sauce is made with finely chopped parsley, cilantro, minced garlic, pepper, oregano red wine vinegar, or in some cases, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
The Difference between Cilantro & Culantro.
I want to spend some time talking about Cilantro also called Coriander, since this herb is not readily available in some parts of the world. The word cilantro is the Spanish name for Coriander leaves. In Trinidad, we don’t have Cilantro readily available. However, we have a herb called Culantor or Shadow Beni. This herb is very similar in flavor and aroma to Cilantro, but they are not the same plant. Culantro has a more robust flavor than Cilantro and is therefore used in smaller amounts.
For my chimichurri sauce, I used culantro. Culantro is a herb that is used to flavor many dishes in the Caribbean. Culantro or shadow beni is also used as a stand-alone sauce. It is a must-have for meats and curry dishes.
Chimichurri sauce is mostly served with grilled meat, although it can be served as desire. So let’s talk about the meat, an essential part of this recipe.
The first step in this recipe is to season the chicken for grilling. I used a combination of fresh green herbs to prepare my marinade. To make this marinade, you would need lemon juice, yellow onions, green onions or scallion, celery, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper to taste.
How to make Marinade?
The Marinade is made by combining all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend at high speed. Pour the Marinade over the chicken and leave to rest for about 15 minutes if you are short on time. However, meat dishes are much more tasty if the meat has been allowed to marinate overnight. Once the chicken is marinade, you are ready to grill.
How to make Grilled Chicken?
If you have a grill at home you can grill the chicken on your grill. I have an oven grill but I much prefer to grill my meats in my cast iron skillet. I have found that I get a slice of more juicy meat, very soft and tender and the meat is not too dry making it easier to digest.
Steps to grilling the chicken in a cast iron skillet.
- I use boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe. The chicken can be between 200g – 225g. I used small pieces to ensure it cooks through.
- This size chicken requires about 20-25 minutes of cooking time on medium heat. Once you’ve added your olive oil, leave for 6-7 minutes to cook on one side before turning. You would need to turn a few times in between to ensure both sides are cooked through and browned to your preference.
- Pierce the chicken breast at its thickest spot with a knife or skewer; the juices should be clear. You can also use a kitchen thermometer if you have one. This juicy flavor in your meat is produced when you leave your chicken to marinate.
Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce in a bowl of fresh salad
- Cast Iron Skillet or Grill
Ingredients for Chicken
- 2 pieces boneless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 piece ginger (small)
- 1/2 yellow onion (small)
- 2 tbsp scallion or chive chopped
- 1 tbsp celery chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Ingredients for Chimichurri Sauce
Make about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro or 1 tbsp culantro or shadow beni
- 1 tbsp chili pepper crushed
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 1 tbsp oregano finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt , or to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Ingredients for Salad
- 5 cups Lettuce chopped
- 1 cup Cucumber diced
- 1 cup Tomatoes diced
- 1 cup Avocados diced
- 1/2 cup Red onion chopped
Instructions for Blended herbs to marinade the chicken
- Place garlic, ginger, yellow onion, scallion, celery, pepper, 1 tsp lime juice in a food processor or blender, add 2 tbsp water or as needed and blend until smooth.
Instructions for Grilled Chicken
- Place chicken breasts in a large bowl, wash with water, and drain thoroughly.
- Pour the other 1 tsp lime juice evenly over chicken breasts and use your hands to rub in to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Sprinkle salt evenly over chicken breasts and use your hands to rub in to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Add 3-4 tbsp. Blended seasonings to chicken; use your hands to rub the seasoning in all the pieces to make sure they are evenly coated.
- Leave to marinate for 15 mins.
- To grill the chicken, heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add olive oil to heated skillet.
- Pat dry the raw chicken before placing it in the skillet to prevent the oil from splashing up.
- Add chicken breast to skillet.
- Leave to cook for at least 6-7 minutes before turning.
- Turn the chicken intermittently on both sides until brown and fully cooked. To test if fully cooked, pierce the chicken breast at its thickest spot with a knife or skewer; the juices should be clear.
- Remove from heat.
Instructions for Chimichurri Sauce
- Add all the ingredients for Chimichurri Sauce in a Food Processor or High-Speed Blender and process at low speed for about 2-3 mins. Set aside.
Instructions for Arranging Salad
- Chop all ingredients for salad and set aside.
- Add the romaine lettuce on the entire plate to form a bed.
- Add grilled meat to one side of the plate on the lettuce bed.
- Arrange the other ingredients on the plate as desire.