Coriander Pesto and Chimichurri

Two very different kinds of green sauce from the October and the November supper club menus.

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Chimichurri and pesto have a lot of similarities for how different they are. Pesto comes from Genoa and the word is from the word “pestare”, meaning to pound or to crush. Chimichurri hails from Argentina and nobody has a damn clue where the name comes from.

This coriander pesto goes well on bread, on pasta and with tomatoes. The chimmichurri is exceptionally good with beef, fish, potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Neither really warrant a carefully measured recipe, but fights about how to make the most authentic version of each will likely endure forever. I suggest to make either of them, you should just jump right in and follow your tastebuds in whatever direction you like best. Here’s mine:

Pesto                            Chimichurri

DIFFERENT:
Coriander                  Parsley
Toasted cashews       Green peppers
Pecorino cheese        Red onion
Lemon                        White wine vinegar
Coriander seeds        Diced red pepper

SAME:
Olive oil                     Olive oil
Sunflower Oil           Sunflower Oil
Garlic                         Garlic
Salt                             Salt
White pepper           White pepper

OPTIONAL:
Basil                           Oregano
Red chilli flakes       Diced green chilli

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I keep the pesto chunky – finely dicing or processing the coriander but only lightly crushing the cashews, grating the cheese on the large rather than the parmesan side. The chimichurri I prefer smooth, using a stick blender and the roughage from the peppers and the onions to help obliterate stalks of the parsley as well as the leaves. The sauces each get a different acid (lemon juice or white wine vinegar) and a final, unblended garnish (coriander seeds or diced red pepper) added right at the end. They each get a mix of olive oil and sunflower oil (olive oil alone is too strong, sunflower oil too bland), garlic, and salt and white pepper to taste. Whichever you’re creating, make a little extra – it’ll keep well in the fridge for about a week or so.

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