What is salsa verde?
Many countries and cultures have their twist on it but at the end of the day, as chef Samin Nosrat says, “the vague skeletal formula for salsa verde might read something like this: chopped herbs + olive oil to cover + acid + salt = salsa verde”
Italian salsa verde is traditionally made with parsley, vinegar, olive oil, anchovies, shallots or onion and salt while Mexican salsa verde uses tomatillos as their acid along with spice from chilies and jalapeños. The French have sauce verte and in Argentina there is chimichurri sauce. Make whatever twist you want to your liking.
Why should you start making salsa verde today???
Well it is simply the perfect condiment, that is why. Goes with almost everything and adding herbs and greens into your condiments is only going to add more vegetables and nutrients to your plate. Also, this is made of whole, simple ingredients so you are avoiding the processed stuff that is in a lot of condiments at the market. Using an olive oil as the fat is always better than a saturated fat condiment that uses cream or butter. Yes, fat is still fat but at least this is unsaturated.
Anchovies are my new obsession! Full of Omega 3 Fatty acids, have a flavor that makes dishes “interesting to the palate” (as chef Michelle Waltman says – see her recipe below) and they are a sustainable fish that is low in Mercury and not in any threat of survival. Also you can buy them in a can and keep them for months. I prefer the salt packed cans.
Eating whole foods does not have to be difficult. Make a large batch of salsa verde and freeze half so you have high quality ingredients available at all time. Eat the way you want by setting up a successful plan. Takes a little thinking in advance but once you get the hang of it, it all falls into place seamlessly.
A few weeks ago a co-hosted an event with the wonderful chef Michelle Waltman. See below for her twist on salsa verde. So tasty!
Arugula Salsa Verde
This salsa verde recipe is not precise and is all the better for it. It is a sauce that knows no bounds. Once you make a batch of salsa verde, you will surely dream of all the things you can spoon it under, over, and beside. Lately, I’ve enjoyed this particular version on boiled potatoes, under fried quail eggs, beside grilled beef tenderloin, stirred in a vinaigrette for wild spring greens, and slathered on the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever eaten.
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, smashed peeled (number depends on your preference and the size of your cloves)
handful of capers, rinsed
2 whole anchovies (I prefer large salt-packed anchovies), rinsed
2 bunches arugula, washed and dried
1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
a couple tablespoons rosemary leaves
the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
about 8 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Finely chop the garlic, capers, and anchovies; place them in a mortar (or bowl) and pound them with the pestle until a rough paste forms (or pulse in a food processor).
2. Finely chop the arugula and herbs and add them to the mortar; pound and grind a it more.
3. Add a good pinch of salt, a few grinds (four or so) of black pepper, and lemon zest; pound until combined.
4. Slowly stir in the olive oil until you achieve the right consistency.
5. Stir in the juice of half the lemon.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (I often have to balance the flavors with freshly ground black pepper, a bit more salt and a bit more lemon).