Recipes Regurgitated: Chimichurri more Bark than Bite

My love of the Border Cafe having been duly noted in this blog, it is depressing to think that in a few short months, Dave will be off to whatever brilliant economics program that will have him and I'll be stuck without a decent excuse to go to Boston (except to see Sloan! Hi Sloan!). True, my discovery of a Border Cafe only 20 minutes from my parents' house is exciting, and between the two I may be able to get my fix in, but it seems unlikely I'll be able to enjoy chimichurri steak, pastelitos, margaritas, and baked tortilla chips with the frequency to which I've been accustomed. So, lately I've been researching Border's various dishes, to see if it's possible to recreate them in some passable form. Last night, I finally, finally took the plunge and made myself some chimichurri.

To be honest, I worried that writing this column would be more "Foodie Dreams, Kitchen Nightmares" than anything--given my last experience in trying to recreate Border Cafe food--but, I am happy to report that my version, while not quite the same as the original, was at least simple, delicious, and easily adaptable.

Chimichurri, which is originally an Argentine sauce, is one of those things that doesn't really have a set recipe, since it varies by region and chef. Most kinds contain parsley, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar at least, blended and left alone until thickened into a creamy, tangy sauce. I followed a recipe from Epicurious, which is usually pretty reliable, although I added a tablespoon of lemon juice for extra tangyness and spooned it over the cooking steak, which gave both the sauce and the steak a nice flavor.
I gave this recipe up to 25 silly mortars*:
based on how well it performed in the following categories:
Shopping Ease
Recipe Readability
Health Factor
(full description of categories here)

Epicurious says: This garlicky sauce from Argentina is great spooned over beef or chicken
I say: The garlicky sauce from Border is better

Shopping Ease -- no problem. The ingredients were easy to pick up and cheap at that. My costs were a little higher than I would have liked, but mostly because I was out of olive oil and needed to pick up red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes. Because I always have cumin, garlic, and salt around the house, next time all I'll need to make the sauce is a bushel of parsley and cilantro (for a grand total of $1.65).

Preparation -- This was ok, easy compared to most things I make, but sauce is generally pretty easy to prepare. My only real problem was pureeing the stuff, since I have a blender, not a food processor. It took forever getting all the little parsley and cilantro leaves properly blended, driving my poor roommates crazy. I also might have accidentally blended the wooden spoon I used to stir things around... Next time I'll chop the greens before putting them in the blender.
Recipe Readability -- Since the instructions were basically "puree and leave alone," you really can't ask for much else. Epicurious is great for simple and clear recipes, but there was no way they could have gotten this wrong

Health Factor -- for a sauce, not too bad, although it's made with half a cup of olive oil, which is heart-healthy but not hips-healthy. Still, it's better than slathering a steak with Worcester Sauce or A-1
Taste -- a solid ok. It was close enough to the heaven that is the Border Cafe's version for me to see that they were both chimichurri sauces, but it still lacked the spiciness and tangyness that makes Border's so good. Possibly mine was a little too much parsley and cilantro--since my sauce came out green and Border's is more dark brown--but it would take some experimenting to get it closer. Still, it was good in its own right, and spooned over my steak it really did taste very good.
Total: 21/25
Overall, I was happy with the sauce, and I'm looking forward to the leftovers in my fridge. The steak (cooked with my special pan-fried directions) came out especially delicious--crispy on the outside, rare and tender on the inside--and this might have also made the sauce taste better. It might be a far cry from the Border Cafe, but it'll do next year as I dream of spicier times...
1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Puree all ingredients together
Transfer to bowl
Let stand, covered, for at least 20 minutes
*Silly mortar by Mongelechi Che

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