Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chimichurri Sauce

Here's a wonderfully green condiment that goes great with grilled skirt steak or grilled vegetables. Chimichurri is the national sauce of Argentina and Uruguay. There are hundreds of versions. When I went to make the sauce the other day, I mistakenly bought curly parsley instead of flat-leaf, and I did not have enough fresh lemon juice. So, I substituted the curly parsley and added some fresh lime juice I had on had, and the sauce was a big hit.

1 cup curly or flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 teaspoon dried hot-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: food processor
  1. Put the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the curly parsley and process all for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, hot pepper, and salt. Pulse until the juices are incorporated into the parsley mixture.
  3. Turn on the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady, slow stream until the chimichurri comes together. Most food processors have drizzle cups built-in to their lids; feel free to add the oil that way.
Makes a little more than a cup of chimichurri sauce.

Tomato Dill Soup

It's been a while since I've posted here. I just came across a delicious recipe for tomato dill soup that is light enough for summer fare.

1 stick butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 28-ounce can whole Italian plum tomatoes, drained and retain juice
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 cups juice from drained Italian tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
Sour cream or creme fraiche for garnish
Dill sprigs for garnish

Special equipment: heavy skillet, 6-quart saucepan, food processor, potato masher
  1. In a large skillet, sauté carrots, celery, and garlic until tender. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until smooth. Do not drain these vegetables, but set them aside.
  2. Put the butter into a heavy saucepan set on medium low heat. Add flour and cook this roux for five minutes, until the roux is light brown and smells nutty. Add the vegetable mixture to the roux and turn the heat to low.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mash the whole Italian plum tomatoes with a potato masher, until the tomatoes are in chunks less than 1/2 inch. Add the mashed Italian plum tomatoes to the vegetable and roux mixture in the saucepan and stir.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the retained juice from the canned tomatoes, the tomato juice, and the tomato purée. Add the sugar to this tomato juice mixture and stir well to blend.
  5. Add the chicken stock to the tomato juice mixture, and then add this liquid mixture to the vegetables in the saucepan. Bring the vegetables and liquid to a boil.
  6. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add cream to the soup and mix thoroughly to blend. Add dill, basil, thyme, and tarragon to the soup and stir well.
  8. Remove the soup from the heat. Serve each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
Serves 6-8.