Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Bold, Versatile Condiment: Italian Salsa Verde

Italian Salsa Verde--no color correction used!  It's that bright and fresh!

A Bold, Versatile Condiment:  Italian Salsa Verde
by Victoria Challancin

Note:  Don't confuse this with the equally delicious Mexican Salsa Verde, which uses tomatillos, garlic, chiles, and cilantro.  That's for another post!

When, for a private cooking class for delightful American friends last week, I was asked to come up with a useful sauce or condiment that included lots of fresh herbs, I didn't have to give it a minute's thought to offer this bright, fresh sauce from Northern Italy's Piedmont region.  Traditionally served with the classic dish of boiled meats, Bollito Misto, this piquant condiment has countless variations and countless uses.  It is simply a recipe that every cook should have in his or her repertoire.

If I have a signature in my cooking style, it is probably my use of fresh herbs and spices.  And nowhere do the herbs shine through as they do in this easy recipe.  Although practically any type of fresh herb can be used as a base, I particularly love to mix parsley and mint.  Other possibilities include cilantro, basil, chives, arugula, thyme (use sparingly), tarragon, cress, marjoram, or oregano.  Some versions of this classic dish include mustard, some don't.  Others might add anchovies.  Or not.  Chopped hard-cooked egg and/or gherkins are also optional as is thickening with bread soaked in vinegar or lemon juice.  Traditionalists will chop the ingredients by hand; flexible modern cooks who don't have the time to spare, will use the food processor.  As you can see, this recipe deserves to be played with until you can call it your own, made to suit your particular tastes.

Some uses for Salsa Verde:
  • Bollito Misto--Piedmontese boiled meats and vegetables
  • On focaccia, crackers, crostini, or bread
  • With crudités
  • Alongside any grilled seafood
  • With roasted (or steamed) vegetables
  • Atop grilled cheese such as haloumi or panela, or with goat cheese
  • As a pasta sauce
  • With meats such as chicken or lamb
  • As a dip for chips or pita triangles

Salsa Verde Italiana

Note:  I've made this recipe for so many years that I don't the original source; however, let's 
attribute this to Giada De Laurentiis as it is so similar to hers in this recipe.

1/4 cup capers, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves  
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 clove garlic, finely minced (more, if preferred)                    
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use a bit less if using lime juice) or 3 
       tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped
1 cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl to blend or purée in a blender.  Check and adjust seasoning to taste.

Enjoy!


If this recipe appeals to you, you might also enjoy my recipe for Italian Salsa Verde with Arugula and
Hazelnuts.

The Salsa Verde was terrific paired with these roasted vegetables, cooked in a hot oven with a touch 
of olive oil, salt, and pepper  (vegetables included carrots, zucchini, beets, onions, endive, baby potatoes, 
red bell pepper, garlic, butternut squash, and mushrooms)

I am submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, the original brainchild of Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen.  The upcoming week's WHB is hosted by the wonderful Haalo at Cook (Almost) Anything.  Be
sure to visit both sites for inspiration and great recipes!




©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

5 comments:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love this sauce and also salmoriglio sauce! They both go wonderfully with meat :)

Hotly Spiced said...

I love salsa verde and it goes with so many things. Your colours are so vibrant!

Lynne said...

A lovely sauce and so versatile! Also, what a fun job you have teaching in such a beautiful area. Thanks for participating in WHB.

Rachel said...

What a gorgeous color this sauce has and I'll bet the taste knocks you out too. Bookmarked this recipe!

Claudia said...

Beautiful color and flavor, I don't make it nearly often enough, so thanks for the encouragement.