Argentine Spice

(Photo by MacMANU)

Argentine cuisine is not particularly known for its spices, however, and despite the mild flavoring, there are some spices that are guaranteed to be present in the pantry of any an Argentine maiden or man. How else would the locals have come up with that delicious chimichurri?

Below are the five key spices of Argentine Cuisine:

Cayenne pepper: This red-hot spice is actually very typical and grows in the northern regions. It is used as one of the bases of chimichurri, and also added to meat empanadas, and other typical  dishes including locro.

Paprika: This Spanish pepper is always present in beef or chicken empanadas, locro, pot roasts and chicken stews (estofados) and other bodegon specials.

Oregano: Given the history of Italian immigration to the country it should come as no surprise that this savory herb be a part of the local cuisine. It is used for pizza of course, sprinkled on top of a halved tomato (a typical side dish) and more importantly for chimichurri.

Bay Leaf: Again the Mediterranean influence makes itself evident in the use of bay leaf in tomato sauces, slow cook stews and in chimichurri.

Nutmeg: Although less typical, this curious spice is ever present in the typical salsa blanca (white sauce) that accompanies corn and spinach dishes such as humita empanadas for example. It is also commonly used in pasta dishes, especially with ricotta fillings.

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