I stole away to Costa Rica last week. Yes, that means that I was away for the 50-degree temps and returned just in time for the latest snowstorm.
While I can’t replicate the warmth of a beach vacation in Minnesota, I can borrow a bit of the sunshine from the food. I ate fat, sweet shrimp everywhere it was offered, and couldn’t get enough of the local chimichurri. While chimichurri is Argentinian in origin, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica has adapted it with local fruit to be something completely their own. Still garlicky but smoother and sweeter than the original, I asked for extra everywhere we went, took it back to our hotel room, stashed it in the mini-bar fridge, and ate it with fresh eggs for breakfast.
I didn’t recognize the name of the fruit when I asked about the preparation, but didn’t worry too much about it since I planned to look up a recipe when I got home. But I’ve failed! Not that the fruit—whatever it was—would be available in Minnesota, but I thought I could approximate an equivalent if I could read about it. However, I’ve found no recipe close to what we ate. Costa Rican chimichurri—for now—will have to live on as a lovely vacation memory.
So instead I offer an orginal Argentinian version, equally delicious, equally capable of chasing away the cold. Make a batch and spoon it over steaks, chicken, and/or fish. And swipe fresh bread through it, the way my son prefers it. Swirl it into soup to add freshness and a hint of heat. Eat it with a spoon, like I have been, staring out the window at endless snow, dreaming of the beach…
Makes 1 cup
Make the sauce at least a couple of hours before you plan to serve it.
1 c. Italian parsley
1/2 c. light olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
Puree ingredients in a food processor. Cover and hold at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or store for longer in the refrigerator.