The thing is, the vendors at farmers markets must sell you much bigger bunches of fresh herbs than you actually need. They don’t have a choice; either that, or their produce spoils on the farm.
So yes, I knew what I got myself into when I purchased an innocent “little” bundle of mint leaves at the Civic Center Farmers Market. Even after using too much for the recipe in question, I still had vast quantities leftover and needed something different from making 50 gallons each of iced tea and lemonade (the traditional solution in New England).
Therefore I committed blasphemy. Chimmichurri is a magnificent Argentinian condiment made with fresh parsley, sometimes with either fresh cilantro or oregano added, plus garlic, olive oil, and white vinegar. I still had over a half cup of mint leaves leftover, and desperate to use all of a very fine quality batch, I developed this recipe instead.
- Two cups of parsley leaves (save the stems for soup stock)
- 3/4 cup of mint leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- Finely chopped zest of one small Lemon
- 3/4 cup of olive oil (you can splurge with the high-quality stuff)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Juice of one small Lemon
Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to chop, frequently pausing to scrape down the sides, until everything is finely chopped and blended. Add one-half of the lemon juice and pulse again a few times. If sufficient, save the other half for another use. If not enough, add the other half and pulse again a few times until everything is blended.
What foods go well with this?
Hundreds of them. It’s astounding how well this worked out. Chicken, pork chops, grilled vegetables, a dip for fresh vegetables, a dip for grilled shrimp, a marinade, a salad dressing, a sauce for egg noodles, a sauce for diced summer squash and halved cherry tomatoes (uncooked)–Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri works on almost every entree. Someone else must have discovered this before I did, because it’s just too dang good not to already exist.
It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it reach room temperature before using.
Vonn Scott Bair