Whenever I’m asked where I get my recipe inspirations from, I can honestly say, “Everywhere.” I’m not kidding. Not only am I constantly creating things in my head, I’m also highly suggestible and can be easily swayed to try something different just by reading a new article, hearing bits & pieces of a conversation, or glancing at a photo.
The inspiration from this one came from a Facebook session (surprise, surprise; I do most of my social networking there). I was catching up on my news & links of the day, “liking” this photo, snickering at friends’ comments. As I scrolled down a bit further on my news feed, I noticed a still from a segment on the Today Show, featuring Chef Eric Ripert and his recipe for a nice flank steak. The caption mentioned something to the effect of “flank steak with chimichurri, potato salad”. Sounds tasty enough, right? I love all these components and knew they’d be lovely together, but I can’t always afford much steak, so I mentally filed that one away as a To Try Later dish.
But the mind is a funny thing, especially when you’re quickly skimming through things on Facebook (because really, we don’t always read stuff on there unless it’s really caught our attention). Since I was reading so fast, my brain did not immediately register the comma in the “flank steak with chimichurri, potato salad”. Instead, I read it as “Flank Steak with Chimichurri Potato Salad”, and then I almost fell off my chair.
Chimichurri Potato Salad??? Holy crap, Chef Ripert is a genius!!!
Of course, when I re-read the title I realized my error, but I didn’t care – A) I think Chef Ripert is still a genius (and pretty dreamy looking; sorry, couldn’t resist) and B) the new recipe bug had bitten me. I had to have chimichurri in a potato salad, and I had to have it now.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good, traditional potato salad as much as the next person (as long as it’s my mom’s recipe, of course); but why must all potato salads be so blah-looking? And so mayo-laden? Why do we jazz up hot potatoes so much, yet sentence our cold spuds to a dismal fate of too much mayo and not enough wow?
But that’s the beauty of cooking; there’s always a way to reinvent the familiar and create new traditions. This is something I threw together after my reading-error-slash-intensive-need-for-chimichurri-in-a-salad. As with many of my creations, it started off quite modestly (just potatoes & chimichurri) and evolved into a spectacular entrée salad that I’ll be taking full advantage of during this year’s tomato season. Not only do the tomatoes add a lovely pop of color to the finished dish, they tie everything together both flavor and texture-wise.
Um, Poor Girl? What the heck is a chimichurri???
Oh, yeah! I should probably explain what it is, considering I sound like an obsessed freak (and it’s been about 2 years since I posted a recipe using it).
Chimichurri, for those who are unfamiliar with this amazing condiment, is an Argentinian sauce made from fresh herbs, garlic, vinegar and a little bit of kick from some peppers. It’s most commonly used by drizzling it atop grilled meats, but as it’s gained popularity stateside, it’s being used in many different dishes. Often made using fresh parsley and oregano, some versions include cilantro, which is how I like mine. Adding a few tablespoons of this piquant green sauce to pan-roasted potatoes is every bit as delicious as it seems, and really gives them that wow factor that’s sometimes missing when it comes to a salad made of spuds.
Because potatoes love to absorb everything you put on them, I decided to pan-roast mine to give them a bit of a sturdier texture. Most potato salads have dressings that are designed to infuse the potatoes with that particular flavor, but for this one, I wanted to use the chimichurri as an accent, not the central flavor theme. Of course, if you want to do that (or if you’re just too tired to take that extra pan-frying step), you’re more than welcome to coat those ‘taters with as much chimichurri as you like. But I’d give it a try as written first; the flavor of the pan-roasted potatoes mixed with the other salad elements is just lovely.
Not much else to note on this one! This is a wonderful dish for an entree salad, or as a side dish for bigger meals or potluck. While this looks a lot fancier than it costs, it’s a fabulous example of how amazing – and affordable – eating real food can be. Keep costs down by using your own home-grown tomatoes and herbs, or grabbing some while they’re still in season. You’ll have plenty of chimichurri sauce left over to use in another salad or over meats the way it’s traditionally used, which further stretches out that food dollar.
Okay, time to stop babbling, as I’m far too distracted by these photos (I’m quite proud of these!). Let’s check out that recipe!
Chimichurri Potato & Tomato Salad (makes 4-6 servings; average cost per serving: $1.15)
This salad is excellent served warm or cold. To keep the potatoes from soaking up all that chimichurri if you’re serving it warm, drizzle about 1 teaspoon onto the pan-roasted potatoes, toss, then add the chimichurri sauce. The sauce can be stored in the fridge in an airtight glass container for about two weeks.
For the salad
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 lb baby red potatoes
1 T olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
Chimichurri (recipe to follow)
For the Chimichurri
1 c fresh Italian parsley (packed)
1/2 c fresh cilantro (packed)
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c vinegar (red wine is preferable, but cider vinegar also works well)
1/2 t crushed red chile flakes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cumin
1. Prepare the chimichurri sauce. Finely chop the cilantro, parsley and garlic cloves and set aside in a bowl. Add the crushed chile flakes, salt, cumin, and toss. Add the vinegar and olive oil and mix well. Cover and set aside.
2. Bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. After washing the potatoes, cut them into 1 1/2″ chunks. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until just fork-tender, then drain completely.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and spread into an even layer so that they cook evenly. Cook until golden brown on one side, toss gently with a spatula or spoon, then brown the other side. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
4. To assemble your salad, combine the potatoes and about 1/4 cup of chimichurri sauce and fold together gently. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and toss again. Garnish with extra chimichurri and herbs, serve as an entree or side, and enjoy!