Sunday, January 10, 2016

Parsley Salsa Verde

Last month I shared my picks for the five best cookbooks of 2015 (here). Like many cookbook commentators and critics, I really liked Travis Jett’s Gjelina, and the book made my “Best Of” list. From cover-to-cover, Jett’s cookbook offers tempting recipes for straightforward, bold food.

One of my favorite chapters in Gjelina is Condiments and Pickles. Lett shares his take on classics such as charmoula, gremolata, chimichurri and harissa. I particularly like his Parsley Salsa Verde, which is easy to make from ingredients readily available year round. Although many salsa verde recipes include mustard and/or egg, Lett keeps his version of this Italian sauce simple with grated lemon zest and red pepper flakes adding zing. He writes that the sauce “brings a lovely herbaceous briny note to things like grilled squid, grilled eggplant, and wood-roasted sunchokes.” I think it tastes really good with Roast Chicken (here). Lett’s recipe makes 1 cup / 210 grams.

3/4 cup [20 g] chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
10 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of crushed pepper flakes
1 garlic clove
2/3 cup [160 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, anchovies, capers, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Using a Microplane grater, grate the garlic into the mixture, add the olive oil, stir to combine, and season with salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature, and stir in the vinegar just before serving.

Lett writes that “[a]s for most herb-based sauces, it’s a good idea to make the base ahead of time and then spike it with vinegar just before using to avoid oxidation.” If you want to mix things up, you can substitute basil for half of the chopped parsley to make a basil salsa verde. When my so-called Roman mint (calamintha nepeta) comes this this year, I’m adding some to the mix.

A quick note. I used 4 large salt-packed anchovies the first time I made this green sauce. I then tried the recipe with 10 oil-packed fillets. I prefer the salt-packed version because, to my taste, it has a better briny flavor. But give both versions a try and see what you like best.