Last Saturday Gail held up 2 bunches of parsley and declared, "I'm going to make chimichurri sauce!" I thought that was a great idea, so I said, "I'm going to make chimichurri sauce too!"
We have the most lovely bunches of herbs right now at the Saturday Morning Market, and chimichurri sauce is a fabulous way to make good use of them. If you are not familiar with the Argentinian condiment, it is a fresh, bright-green sauce that brings tons of flavor to any meal. Parsley, cilantro, garlic and jalepeno combine with olive oil, red wine vinegar and lime juice to produce a bright, tangy, slightly spicy party in your mouth.
Traditionally, chimichurri sauce is served with steak.. and I can't speak to that, but it does go well with any protein. This week I'm pairing it with tamari-roasted tofu sticks for you to taste at the Market. These tofu sticks are a great snack to keep around, or travel with, they're savory and chewy. Hope you enjoy!
Roasted Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce
For the Chimichurri Sauce:
1 bunch cilantro
2 bunches parsley
3 cloves garlic
1/2 jalapeño, seeded
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juiced
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor. Gradually add the olive oil, vinegar and lime juice, tasting as you go to make sure the flavors are balanced. Process until smooth, like a pesto, but more saucy.
For the Tofu:
1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu
Drain excess water from the tofu package, but hold onto the carton. Cut the tofu block in half from it’s narrowest side, then slice into 1/4 inch pieces. Put the tofu back in the carton and add about 1/4 cup tamari, or just enough to cover the tofu. Allow it to marinate at least 15 minutes, but the longer the better. Arrange the tofu on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Flip the tofu and bake another 20 minutes, until the tofu is crispy on both sides.
I am not a big fan of cucumbers. I tend to pull them off a house salad. I do like pickled cucumbers though. This salad is sort of something in-between. Before using the cucumbers, they are salted and set to drain for at least 30 minutes. This removes excess water from the cucumbers, to keep them more crisp, and also gives them a partly-pickled taste. The vinegar and Fire Salt give the cucumbers a nice tang, the scallions and mint (or basil) add interesting flavor, and it is the kind of salad you could eat on its own as a side, or use as a condiment with something else.
This recipe is adapted from Joshua McFadden's "Cucumbers, Scallions, and Dried Chile" recipe, from his cookbook, 6 Seasons. If you don't know the 6 Seasons cookbook yet, get it - it's fabulous. It is organized by growing season and vegetable, so it's more or less in order of the vegetables you can find at the farmer's market throughout the season. I have to say, I was enamored with the way he cuts cucumbers on a strong bias, so I wanted to try this recipe. In my version, I use Fire Salt, which is a habanero and pink Himalayan salt, made by Lifegarden Farm in Lakeland, FL. The Fire Salt is perfect for this dish, just the right amount of heat and salt to balance the vinegar and cucumbers.
Cucumber Salad with Scallions and Fire Salt
1 pound cucumbers, seeded and sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 small handful of mint leaves, or basil
1/2 t Fire Salt, or dried chile flakes
3 T rice wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Peel the cucumbers if the skins are too thick, otherwise just seed and slice on a bias. Toss the cucumbers with a teaspoon of salt, and allow to sit in a colander for at least 30 minutes to draw excess water out. Rinse the scallions, or soak in cold water for 20 minutes to take the sharpness out, then drain. Combine cucumbers, scallions, red onion, mint (or basil), Fire Salt (or chile flakes), and vinegar. Taste and adjust salt, spice or vinegar as needed. Add olive oil as desired, and mix again.
Adapted from Joshua McFadden’s recipe, “Cucumbers, Scallions, Mint and Dried Chiles,” from Six Seasons.
You can find Fire Salt at Lifegarden Farm's booth at the St. Pete Saturday Morning Market.