For a solid year, I had the pleasure of having a sous chef who was from Argentina. I brought him on since he had some good experience and I thought that his view of food and style could be a great help to the restaurant. I remember one day a VIP customer came in and requested some chimichurri to go with his steak. I don’t usually cater to peoples tastes for condiments made on the spot since that’s a pain in the ass, but this time I made an exception. This isn’t his recipe, but I was channeling him when I made it.
Herb and oil based sauces like this are some of my favorite, especially when days with warm weather are on the horizon. They’re easy to make, and don’t even require heat, just chop some stuff up, season it, toss in a little oil and call it a day.
Chimichurri is the classic Argentinian condiment for grilled meat, typically made with parsley, garlic, oil, chili, vinegar, and other things depending on who you ask. Our version here is a little different, using ramps instead of the garlic, and bergamot instead of the dried oregano you sometimes find. It’s a fun variation, and easily modified.
A basic method, you can play around and make it your own or adjust to your taste.
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed to yield roughly 2 lightly packed cups
- 1/4 cup fresh bergamot OR 1 tablespoon dried bergamot, crumbled, stems removed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 10 small ramps with leaves, or 5 large ramps
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (you can substitute another oil if you like)
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- Mound the parsley, dried bergamot, ramp bulbs, salt and red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince together with a chef’s knife.
- Dice the ramp leaves into 1/4 inch squares.
- In a bowl, combine the diced ramp leaves and chopped parsley-ramp mixture, then add the vinegar and oil and mix to combine. Transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate until needed. The sauce tastes best the day it’s made.