While chimichurri is the most instantly recognized Argentine condiment around the world, there is another sauce often prepared for asados that is even easier to prepare and equally delicious: salsa criolla. The term criollo comes from the days of Spanish colonialism and refers to Argentines (and Latin Americans) of purely or mostly Spanish heritage. Many criollos brought their traditional Iberian cuisine to the New World and incorporated it into Latin America dishes.
Salsa criolla is one example of a dish that clearly demonstrates its Spanish roots. Made with five simple ingredients, this sauce pairs best with roasted chicken, grilled vegetables, and a variety of fish. I have found, however, that my asado guests also like to put this on beef or choripan as a break from the intense garlic flavor of chimichurri.
Give this quick and easy recipe a try at your next asado and tell me what you think:
1 extra large red bell pepper
½ red onion
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the pepper in half and remove the stem, seeds, and white pith. Slice into very fine strips and then mince the pepper extremely fine. Then, mince the onion in the same extremely fine manner. (Note: while I like to use a food processor for my chimichurri mincing duties, do not use one for the salsa criolla. It will turn the pepper and onion mushy and you will not get the texture you want from the sauce. Just repeatedly mince by hand with a large, sharp knife.)
Add the minced pepper and onion to a bowl and mix well. Stir in the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. It should cover the pepper and onion and leave slight oil layer at the top of the bowl.
I recommend preparing at least 30-45 minutes in advance of serving in order for the flavors to meld, but for best results, make the salsa the night before, cover it, and refrigerate. On the next day, remove the salsa from the refrigerator about an hour before serving to get the sauce back to room temperature.