I made a very big batch of this tasty green sauce because I had bags of fresh herbs left over from a shoot. This is a fantastic way to preserve fresh herbs and add a big flavour hit to a few basic recipes. Adjust the quantities according to what want to make, and I worked on a ratio of 2 parts parsley to 1 part of both mint and basil.
I was inspired to make this recipe after tasting something similar at the Swartland Revolution in November last year. On Saturday the mothers of the winemakers get together and put on the ‘mom’s lunch’, and it’s always spectacular. They served a similar tasting sauce with their freshly baked focaccia bread, and I loved all the fresh flavours this dip added. They also included finely sliced spring onions (scallions) to their spread, so this is what I did too.
My mind went on a tangent and I used this delicious salsa verde in these 4 ways. I wanted to make a few more recipes because the sauce is so versatile, but I ran out of the year and I needed to get on holiday. Some of the other ideas I thought of was to make a zucchini ‘linguini’ and toss the green sauce through that. Or add chopped green olives and stir this through regular pasta as I did with this recipe. I think it would be fabulous with a variety of vegetables and grilled fish too.
What I said before about salsa verde:
“You can find similar permutations of this green sauce across a few countries cuisines. The French do a sauce verte, the Spanish a salsa verde, the Mexicans a salsa verde, the Germans a hessina green sauce and the Argentinians a chimichurri. The origin is firmly Italian though, and its classic version is essentially made using parsley, garlic, capers, onions, anchovies, vinegar, mustard and olive oil.”
This version includes basil and mint and I love the huge flavour it delivers. I made a big bowl of the ‘mother sauce’ and then used this as a base in all these recipes, adding a few new things here and there. As you leave it, the flavours from the herbs seep into the olive oil
For the Bread spread – I added a few finely chopped spring onions to the green sauce and loosened it a little with extra olive oil.
Peas with salsa verde and pea shoots
Stir the salsa verde through peas that have been blanched for 3 minutes in boiling water. Garnish with pea shoots if you can find these rare beauties. I made this for our Christmas eve dinner and used a combination of green beans (whole), sugar snap peas, mange tout and peas. Serve this hot or cold as a fabulous side dish with roasted or grilled meat, chicken or fish.
Garlic bread with salsa verde butter and Parmesan cheese
To make this bread, I adapted my best-ever garlic bread recipe: Take one medium-sized baguette and cut slices into it three-quarters of the way through. Mix 100g of softened (room temperature) butter with 3 crushed garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of salsa verde and 30g of finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese. Generously spread this between each slice of bread, wrap the loaf in foil and bake in an oven that has been pre heated to 200C for 20 minutes. Open the foil 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time in order to brown it.
New potato salad with salsa verde and spring onions
Stir the salsa verde through hot steamed new potatoes and sprinkle over sliced spring onions for a delicious warm side dish. Allow the potatoes to cool and do the same to make a tasty potato salad. You could also stir through mayonnaise to make it creamier.
4 ways with salsa verde
- 2 cups loosely packed Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
- 8 - 10 anchovy fillets in oil
- 2 T capers about 30- 40g drained weight
- 100 - 125 ml olive oil
- Process the herbs, anchovies and capers in a food processor until fairly finely chopped up, add the olive oil, until you have the desired consistency. Add more or less depending on how loose you want to make it.
- The sauce can be stored in the fridge up to 2- 3 weeks