Italian Salsa Verde is the all-purpose sauce of your dreams.
The other green salsas–Mexican tomatillo, jalapeño, or green chile, and Argentinian chimichurri have enjoyed their 15 minutes. And move over pesto, the OTHER Italian green sauce has moved into the spotlight.
Italian Salsa Verde is one of those accessories that doesn’t really need a recipe and after a batch or two you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it for years, especially if you love your food processor. Salsa verde is like a tangy pesto made with a combination of herbs, but without the pine nuts and the cheese. It’s also like a chimichurri with capers and anchovy. It’s beautifully green, tart, earthy, garlicy, and spot on for making any simple meat, poultry, fish, or vegetable shine.
The Piedmontese serve salsa verde with their very simply boiled meats, called Bollito Misto.
If you have the opportunity be sure to try Jonathan Waxman’s Salsa Verde drizzled on his roasted chicken at Barbuto in New York or at Adele’s in Nashville. It’s just a little bit of umami that completes the already spectacular chicken. You’ll understand its powers immediately.
For Thanksgiving, as we pondered our usual bland turkey conundrum, we drizzled a carved platter of meat with salsa verde. It was a holiday game-changer. Right after that we watched Mario Batali doing the same thing on THE CHEW. Salsa verde is everywhere!
Fast forward to spring and summer and make it your go-to sauce for easy Cheater Chef shelf chicken, simple boiled chicken, grilled salmon, fat rib-eyes, skirt or flank steak. Grilled butterflied leg of lamb or lamb chops with a variation of salsa verde made with fresh mint and a little rosemary sure sounds great. Or, bypass the meat and serve with a pile of mixed roasted vegetables or potatoes. It makes a whale of a potato salad blended with a little mayo.
Use our recipe as a starting point. Your salsa verde should be all your interpretation and vary according to what’s in the herb garden or in your crisper drawer. We’ve used both salted capers and brined with fine results. If you don’t like anchovy, then leave it out.
- 1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley (or substitute curly parsley)
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/2 cup fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh sage and/or fresh basil
- 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
- 1 medium anchovy
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- Zest from one lemon
- About 1 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper, to taste, optional
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped and well blended. Add more oil if you like it thinner.
- Use the herb amounts as a guideline. You can easily change them up according to what you have on hand and what you like. Other herbs can be added or substituted as long as you keep the parsley such as cilantro, marjoram, a little rosemary, mint, and chives. Add lemon juice or vinegar to taste if you want it tangier.