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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Chimichesto? Mizchurri? Whatever...This Green Condiment is Delish

Let's start with this: I am usually very against making up words. But in this instance, I decided I needed to manage expectations as this is neither a traditional chimichurri nor pesto.



I put out a poll on social media - with the two options of 'Chimichesto' and Pestichurri'. Nearly fifty people watched the story and one hundred percent of the people who responded answered Chimichesto. A foodie friend pointed out that it actually is a pesto. While I agree with that, coming from the Italian word pestare, this isn't what people normally think of as a pesto.



First, let's talk about green condiments...


Chimichurri

Chimichurri is a South American green condiment that traditionally accompanies grilled red meat. It includes herbs, greens, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and a smidge of spice and heat.


I have used it on my Pinchos de Pollo in The Lighter Shades of Wines from Uruguay and a Parade of Pairings and on lamb lollipops (photographed above) in From California's Oldest Wine Region: 2019 L'Autre Côte Cabernet Franc + Chimichurri Lamb Lollipops. And it is also a must have on the Argentinian Choripán.


Pesto

Pesto is a sauce that originated in the Ligurian region of northern Italy. Pesto Genovese, from Genoa, traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano The name derives from the Italian verb pestare which means to pound or to crush, referring to the original way of preparing it - with a mortar and pestle. The ingredients in a traditional pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Now I use a blender. It's much easier!



I liberally swap out herbs, nuts, aromatics, and cheese based on what I have in my kitchen on a given day. But I do think that all of those, especially the cheese, are important for a pesto. I use in pasta - as in From the Italian Riviera: Animated Sea Monsters, Linguine Al Pesto, and Mataòssu - and on pizza (photographed above).


Gremolata

Gremolata is similar to chimichurri but includes not just lemon juice or vinegar but the actual citrus rind.


Most often I serve gremolata on top of osso buco (photographed above), but I have also stirred it into blistered green beans and minestrone.


Pink Mizuna Greens


When a local friend posted that she had a metric ton of pink mizuna green - and asked if anyone wanted some - I raised my hand first. I love, love, love homegrown greens, especially oddball ones. And I had never had pink mizuna greens, so I was excited to play.


Kara dropped off two huge bags. And I got to work on jarring a green condiment hybrid, using vinegar like a chimichurri, nuts like a pesto, and lemon rind like a gremolata. She voted for the name 'Mizchurri' but everyone else called this a Chimichesto. I am going with the majority!


Chimichesto


Ingredients


  • 4 cups Pink Mizuna green, rinsed and dried

  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used a spiced apple cider vinegar) plus more as needed

  • 1 cup olive oil plus more as needed

  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper chile flakes

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roasted and unsalted

  • 3 Tablespoons zest from organic lemons

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Also needed: sterilized jars with lids


Procedure

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth, drizzling in the oil until desired texture; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over to top to prevent oxidation. Refrigerate and use within three days. If you use freezer-proof jars (the mason jars with no shoulders), leave a little more room at the top and freeze.


I will be using this, stirred into pasta and spooned on top of roasted veggies and salmon. I am also smearing it on bread in a gussied up grilled cheese.

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