If it’s high summer and there are tomatoes (and it wouldn’t be summer without tomatoes), I’m making caprese of some sort. Maybe every week. I don’t stir up chimichurri quite that often, but unlike caprese it shows up throughout the year mostly with pork (love it with ribs!), but sometimes on beef or shrimp or ________. A couple of weeks ago I made three of my Chimichurri Pork Chops only because the package had 3 in it–weird, I know. What to do the next day with the lonely fellow left on the platter? I had fresh mozzarella, zucchini to grill, plenty of tomatoes, and why not serve a hybrid of caprese and chimichurri pork layered with grilled zucchini? Since chimichurri is packed with other fresh herbs, the basil could be skipped. A big handful of fresh greens at the center would set the seal on this stunning deal. I’m wanting it again already.Jump to Recipe
So here’s what the Chimichurri Pork Chops were like……
And here’s a little about chimichurri itself:
chimichurri (definition) Noun chimichurri (countable and uncountable, plural chimichurris) (uncountable) A sauce and marinade for grilled meat originally from Argentina, made from chopped parsley or cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, onion, and paprika with olive oil. (countable) A traditional pork sandwich eaten as a snack in the Dominican Republic Etymology Borrowed from Spanish chimichurri, from Basque tximitxurri (literally “a mixture of several things in no particular order”), from Basque immigrants to Argentina and Uruguay in the 19th century. Many folk etymologies also exist. ~Wiktionary
While chicken often reigns supreme (Hello, Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and insert stink eye.) over protein-laden salads. I’ve been known to let pork have its day as well. These days, when meat is ultra-expensive, pork chops (or pork loin or even pork tenderloin) are sometimes one of the best buys in the meat case.
You might be smart enough to grill or roast an extra chop one day and then you’ll have very little to do to put this salad on the table the next night and feed a few of you when you try this little piece of happiness:
Chimichurri Pork Salad
- 1 thick bone-in or boneless pork chop, seasoned, grilled or roasted (1/2-pound to ¾ pound) and sliced thinly — can use 1/2-pound cooked and slice pork tenderloin
- 4 small ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 3/4 – pound sliced fresh mozzarella
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced and grilled or sautéed and seasoned well with salt and pepper
- 2 cups arugula or any fresh greens
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper, optional
- Chimichurri Sauce–see below
- On a large platter, layer the pork, tomato, mozzarella, and zucchini slices in a circle, oval, or rectangle. Place the arugula at the center, topping with extra tomatoes if you have them. Sprinkle salad with a little salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, if using. Spoon Chimichurri Sauce lightly and evenly over all the ingredients. Serve at room temperature, warm, or chilled. Store leftovers tightly covered for a day in the fridge.
***If you over process or over blend the chimichurri, it will be bitter. Pulse or whisk until just well-blended. Use the best red wine vinegar you can afford; I like Fini, worth its weight.
CHANGE IT UP: There’s little doubt you could swap in sliced grilled chicken or shrimp for the pork, but if you’re flush and have leftover steak, you’d like that, too. The cheese is easily left out if dairy is a problem but you might want to layer in something else — another vegetable like sliced cucumbers or grilled eggplant would work. In fact, for a vegetarian version those two vegetables would work admirably in place of the meat. For vegans, leave off both the meat and cheese and add double portions of the vegetables. Piquant chimichurri isn’t an acquired taste per se, but consider seasoning the sauce to your own palate. Use all parsley, for instance, or less garlic. If you have cumin seed instead of ground cumin and are making the sauce in the food processor, the seeds will work fine. You could also do it using a mortar and pestle.
CUTTING FOOD COSTS/AVOIDING WASTE FOR THIS DISH: S for making a salad–yay! A if you planned your menu or made a list. V for value as it might have been made from leftovers. Using only one chop is a savings from the get-go. You’re also definitely avoiding waste however you look at it. I hope you’re able to grow herbs as that’s always savings, though parsley and cilantro are inexpensive grocery store herbs. E for every week eating at home for health, wealth, and happiness…that’s always a bargain and so much more to boot. P.S. Fresh mozzarella is decidedly less expensive at COSTCO, but comes in a two-pack. Watch the dates; fresh cheese doesn’t keep well.
See above/right graphic for the key to the letters.
LIFE GOES ON:
Tucker and Rosie when they hear husband Dave’s truck turn the corner….
Thanks for keeping me company in the kitchen; you’re it!
Stay cool and make some gorgeous salad for yourself,