This is one of those recipes that I have no idea who to credit other than the many Peoples of Argentina. It’s a national condiment, used as a marinade or eaten with grilled beef or other meats for which Argentina is also well known. They say the name is from the word tximitxurri of the Basque language meaning ‘a mix of several things’. A fascinating little side note: the Basque language (of northern Spain and southern France) appears to not be related to any other language in the world, what they call a “language isolate”. Amazing.
I am particularly grateful for a recipe that uses a monster pile of fresh oregano. Oregano is of the mint family and is extremely hardy and expansive, flourishing where many other plants may not. I leave the shady part of the garden to these boisterous herbs like tarragon, oregano and mint, and let them duke it out who can be more invasive. In the meanwhile I have waaaay more oregano than a person really needs and seek out recipes that aren’t shy about the amounts.
Chimichurri to the rescue.
At his annual Sankt Hans Aften party this year my good friend Dennis Larson strayed from his traditional Danish smørrebrød fare by adding a roasted goat Argentinian style to the menu. I made the chimichurri (made with fresh marjoram, but it’s very close in flavor to oregano) to serve with the roasted goat asada and it was an amazing combination—very un-Skandihoovian in a deliciously herbaciously garlicky kind of way.
Here you can see the asadore (the metal cross which holds the splayed goat) to cook it “al asador”— meaning the fire is made on the ground and burned into coals then the meat is attached to the asadore and slow roasted for many hours over low heat. The rack is adjustable at both the cross beams for different sizes of animals and the angle over the fire to control the amount of heat. Ingenious! This asadore was built by a metalsmith friend specifically for Dennis’s party, and I’m sure it will find more use over the years.
To roast there should only be coals, no flame, and the heat so low that you can hold your hand over the fire at waist height and not be burned. I have learned with smoking that low and slow is how these things work. Really slow. Patience. Time. Crossword puzzles. Beer. Catnaps. More time. It’s worth it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Make the Salmuera (salt-water brine)
Stir in a pan over low heat to dissolve:
1/2 cup Water
1 – 2 teaspoons Salt (if this is for vegetables do 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt, if it’s for roasted meat it could be 2 teaspoons—this will seem salty but it goes well with the meat)
Mix together in a bowl:
1 cup Fresh Oregano leaves, minced
1 cup Fresh Parsley leaves, minced
1 bulb Garlic, peeled and minced (yes, a full bulb!)
1/2 cup Salmuera (salt-water brine)
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Red Chile Flakes
My apologies to any vegetarians reading this post…the photos below leave no doubt what food category is being cooked for dinner. Note how the added legs of the asadore help bear the weight and keep everything stable.