National Farmer’s Market Week

Pike Place Market Produce- Photo by Lorelle

 Celebrate with Chimichurri Sauce

National Farmer’s Market Week runs through August 11 and celebrations are going on around the country.  Reliable sources say the number of famer’s markets around the country grew almost 10% this year and according to the USDA, grew 17% last year.

 No wonder the popularity is growing.  Having a face and a farm to associate with your food adds a personal, human dimension to shopping that you won’t find at a supermarket.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

 When you look a passionate farmer in the eye, hear his or her stories and catch that mouth-watering aroma of freshly-picked produce you can’t help but get excited about locally-grown food.

If you’re traveling this summer, look up Farmer’s Markets along the way or at your destination at this Website .  It’s fun to discover what is growing in different areas of the country and pick up healthful travel snacks.

 My suggestion is to peruse all the stalls at the market before decided what and from whom you’ll purchase.  Challenge yourself to try something new or unusual.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Include children, if you have them, and engage them in the process of shopping, preparing and cooking.  Don’t forget your shopping bags and cash for quick transactions.  If, like me, you get carried away buy more than you can eat – offer some as a gift to a friend.  Or make jam (I rely on easy freezer jams), a freezable pie filling, pesto, tomato sauce or something else you can put away to savor later in the year.

Good produce is also good for your health.

 Low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber, most vegetables and fruits are sources of nutrients typically under-consumed in the United States, including folate,

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K, according to the US Dietary Guidelines for American 2010. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

 The Guidelines point out that eating vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Just 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruits per day is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, and some protect against certain types of cancer.

Chimichurri, which is fun to say and even better to eat, is an Argentinian parsley, garlic and herb sauce that brightens just about anything.

Chimichurri with Wild Rockfish - Photo by Lorelle

It is the classic accompaniment to the grilled meat, especially beef, for which Argentinians are famous; however they drizzle it over bread, potatoes and other vegetables. Try it over a salad or a platter of grilled vegetables you’ve picked up at the Farmer’s Market or with seafood as shown here.

I saw Chimichurri demonstrated by an expert on South American cookery at an International Association of Culinary Professionals meeting and the recipe included 16 cloves of raw garlic with 1 cup of parsley and 1/3 cup fresh oregano, along with onion, vinegar and seasonings.  My recipe is considerably tamer– but tweak it to your liking. 

Parsley, often neglected as little more than a garnish, is a power-food. One-quarter cup (about 1/2 ounce) of chopped parsley contains a whopping 26% Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, 34% DV vitamin C and 312% DV of vitamin K – and under 6 calories.   Fresh and dried oregano (and other spices and herbs) have cancer-protective phytochemicals that are strong antioxidants says AICR, and fresh seem to have the most. 

Home Grown Oregano - Photo by Lorelle

 According to McCormick’s Spices for Health website  , studies show oregano also has antimicrobial properties that fight bacteria and parasites, too. 


 Using fresh and dry oregano gives this sauce a double layer of flavor.  Recipes abound for chimichurri however the classic combination includes parsley, oregano, garlic, some vinegar and sometime onion.  Replace half the vinegar with lemon juice, if desired. 

4 cloves garlic, blanched if desired*

5 cups flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves

3/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

 2 to 3 tablespoons water from blanching garlic or plain water, optional

If using raw garlic, finely chop.  In food processor, combine chopped raw or blanched whole garlic, parsley, fresh and dry oregano, salt, sugar and crushed red pepper; process until finely chopped.  While blending, slowly add oil and vinegar; continue to process until well blended, scraping bowl once or twice. Thin with a few tablespoons water, as desired. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.   Makes 1 1/2 cups.

*To blanch garlic, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add whole garlic and simmer 30 seconds.  Remove garlic from water, reserving water. 

Copyright © Lorelle S Del Matto 2012

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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