Monday, March 23, 2015


I am posting this recipe here--an older one--by special request. It is one of my all-time favorites.

In my dream, I arrive at the library just as everyone at the kids' school is sitting down to do an art project with their parents: there is glue and wood, paint brushes and scraps of colorful paper. "Oh, great, an art project!" I say, too loud. "I love art projects!" Only when I sit down in one of the eensy chairs, and see everybody looking quietly at me, do I realize I am naked. "Oh, gosh!" I say, too loud. "Lucky I have some undies in my bag!" Everybody looks at me quietly while I hop around and stick my two legs into one leg hole and fall over forwards with my bottom in the air and fall over backwards with my legs in the air. "Oops!" I say from the floor. "Yikes!" I laugh. "This isn't the least embarrassing moment of my life!" Everybody looks at me quietly.


It's like the kind of question Ben is always posing: Would you rather go to work completely nude or wearing a transparent wetsuit? (Nude.) Would you rather go to town completely nude or wearing an outfit with large holes cut out over all your private places? (Nude.) What about large holes cut out but patched in transparent fabric? (Nude.) At Dream Crafts Project, I would have been way better off naked than with the whole underpants situation.


I love questions like that, and I ask them too, but mine are almost always about food, and I always imagine that we're packing up for a life on a deserted island. What if you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, but you'd get all your nutrients from it? (Michael picks ice cream, Birdy picks yogurt, Ben picks plum cake, and I pick brown rice.) If you could only use one seasoning for the rest of your life, what would it be? (Salt.) What about besides salt? (Lemon.) What if you could only use one herb? Ben picks mint; Michael picks basil; Birdy can't decide between mint and basil. But me? I pick parsley. I love parsley. It's so green-tasting, so boldy herbal without impersonating any kind of bubble bath; it's the closest you can get to seasoning a dish with the smell of newly mown grass. If it's on my plate as a garnish, I always eat it, and even hours later, I can feel its verdant echo in my mouth, as if my very teeth are photosynthesizing.


And this sauce is all about the parsley; it's a tribute to parsley, really, even though it's more commonly understood as an Argentinean accompaniment to grilled meats. In fact, it's typical to add other herbs to chimichurri--oregano or thyme or cilantro--but I love this parsley-only version, which is based in its simplicity on a recipe I clipped from Gourmet years and years ago. It is basic and fantastic, sharply herbal and mouth-wateringly green, with just enough vinegar to balance out the richness of, say, a perfectly grilled steak. But it is excellent with grilled anything: steak, chicken, fish, tofu. It is also a great condiment for sandwiches, and a little stirred into a pasta or grain salad is fantastic. In sum, it has for years been one of my most indispensable summer recipes. Encourage your kids to try it--by promising that they don't have to actually eat it or by calling it Shrek Sauce or whatever--because they may actually like it, but they won't know unless they etc.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Total time: 10 minutes

I salt steak very heavily before grilling, and so I actually undersalt this sauce a bit!!! I know! Add more to your liking. Also, the sauce can thicken while it sits--almost like it's gelling, strangely--so you may want to stir more oil or vinegar into it as you like. If you can't get out your grill yet, I say a bit about pan-frying steaks here.

1 large bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup really good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup regular old white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
A large pinch of dried red-pepper flakes (optional)

Cut the largest stems off the bunch of parsley, then submerge the leaves (along with all of its smaller stems--I am not picky about this!) in a sinkful of cold water, then spin it dry in a salad spinner.  Combine the parsley with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whir until pureed. If it resists pureeing (maybe you had an extra-large bunch of parsley!), add more oil and vinegar, proportionately--enough to make a sauce-like consistency, and taste for salt. 


  1. Thank you for this bunch of deliciousnesses! What else can be said? Maybe this: the good things about those dreams is that you feel particularly happy (even giddy) when you wake up. (It WAS a dream. Nobody needs to remember this but me!)

    Also: I do this sauce often, but with lemon instead of vinegar, and I skip the red-pepper flakes. So I guess it's not Chimichurri at all, but I love it so much it usually eat half of it before it's mixed into my salads (etc.)

    Happy spring Catherine !

    1. Ahem, sorry for typos! Please read:

      "I love it so much *I* usually eat half of it"…

      and "Happy Spring"


      Your Giddy Reader xo

  2. Anonymous11:37 PM

    Oh thank you so very much!!! My boys and I love this anytime of year!!! This was worth the wait!!! xo

  3. I can NOT wait to hear what you've been reading as of late. I loved My Notorious Life which our book club is reading. I also read Yes, Please and Not That Kind of Girl, liked Yes Please more (though I love Lena's writing on Girls a lot). Just finished How to Catch a Frog and it was really good. Now what...............perhaps you have a new recommendation?

  4. I have just recently discovered your blog and wanted to say hello!
    The tenderness here along with the passion for food (and life) and the humor that runs through like a silver thread is a thing of real beauty. Thank you for doing this here in this space.

  5. I'm thinking this might be just the thing to perk up my Passover brisket. How far in advance can I make it, do you think?
    Thanks, Loren

  6. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Catherine! I found you again. I followed your blog religiously when I was feeling exiled in Korea -- this would have been 2001 - 2003 -- and my babies were about the age of yours. You were the other mom I could laugh with through those days. We've been back stateside and I've been a not-cooking working mom. I thought of you the other day and remembered to look you up. Now I've found you again and maybe you will help me feed these teenagers back to health and happiness. Truly wonderful to see you again. Birdy is beautiful I feel like a long lost cousin of yours!

  7. definitely going to make this. I'm not sure I ever tried to pin down my favorite herb, but I am finally honest and grown-up enough that I eat parsley as a vegetable practically. I love its clean flavor so much.