Summer’s Most Essential Condiment

July 19, 2013

Photo (33)

Salsa Verde

Clifton Fadiman once called cheese “milk’s leap to immortality.”  I think of salsa verde as parsley’s bid for lasting fame. Here the little sprig, rarely more than a disposable decoration, has its shining moment. Put this salsa on steak and watch it sing. Serve it with raw tomatoes, with grilled eggplant, or on a plate of scrambled eggs. A single spoonful has the kick and crunch to bring a summer meal together, and this time of year I always have some sitting in my fridge, ready to rescue a dull meal.

One important note: This is the time to use the finest olive oil in your cupboard, because ordinary oil will have a negative impact. I particularly like the bright flavor of virgin Tuscan oils here; their prickly bite adds an interesting note.

1 bunch flatleaf Italian parsley

2 shallots

red wine vinegar

¼ cup capers, rinsed and soaked

3 cloves of garlic

½ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

half a lemon

high quality extra-virgin olive oil 

salt

pepper

Wash  your parsley and pick the leaves until you accumulate a small mountain on your cutting board. In the words of Fergus Henderson, “discipline” your parsley by running your knife repeatedly through the pile. You want a fine chop, but be careful not to mash. Set aside.

Peel and chop your shallots extremely fine and cover with red wine vinegar. Drain and chop your capers. Peel and mince the garlic. Cut your lemon in half. Mise-en-place complete: prepare to assemble!

Beginning with your parsley, add half of the shallots, half the capers, all the garlic and almonds, and toss. Taste the mixture for salt and acid, and continue to add shallots and capers accordingly, bearing in mind that the capers will significantly raise the salt-content.

Douse the entire salsa in olive oil, stirring it into a shimmering green pool, and adjust the seasoning with a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors, salt and pepper if necessary. Some like it soupier – I prefer mine more rustic,

It's ready to eat now, but it will be even better tomorrow, when the the flavors have had a chance to get better acquainted. 

Makes approximately 1 cup.

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