Tilapia with Chimichurri Sauce

From: Catherine Martin
May 2021 Herb Study Parsley Tasting winner
(origin: Argentine)

NOTES: This is basically for basting grilled steak, chicken or fish, not so much for marinating, though you can try it if you like. I especially like it on fairly bland fish like tilapia because it gives it a needed boast as it cooks or as soon as it’s almost done. Some people make this simple sauce in a food processor, but while similar to pesto, it differs in that it is much better finely chopped to preserve the sauce’s nice, slightly rough texture. I recommend chopping! The level of heat, though, is entirely up to you, and if you don’t like heat simply leave out the red pepper or chili and/or reduce the garlic. Common variations add fresh cilantro or basil to the oregano or substitute for it completely.

1 C. packed fresh parsley, or about ½ C. finely chopped
3-4 fresh garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, or ¾ tsp. dry oregano in winter dishes (can substitute or supplement with cilantro or basil – see notes).
1/3-1/2 C. olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice (lemon juice recommended for fish)
½-1 tsp sea salt or other coarse salt
1/8-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes or 1 red chili finely chopped

Finely chop all herbs, garlic, and fresh red chili if using, then add all remaining ingredients, stir, and let stand at least 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasonings as desired, and if in doubt, start with the minimum amounts of oil, salt and pepper and increase later. This can stand for 2 hours or be refrigerated, but if you put it in the refrigerator bring it back to room temperature before using it either while or after cooking meats and fish, which by the way do not have to be grilled if you prefer a different cooking method.

To prepare tilapia: Pat filets dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper. Heat butter and a little oil in a skillet until butter is melted (adding oil helps keeps the butter from browning). Add filets and sauté turning, as needed, until fish is opaque and flaky. Serve immediately; top with Chimichurri sauce.