AoSF: Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde
One bunch of parsley from the grocery store fit in this tiny green ceramic box that I usually use for herbed butter.

I’m starting up a new series of blog entries here, to document my culinary experiments with Alice Waters’ cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. I have a few goals for this project. First, I’m hoping to learn some new recipes this summer for cooking, and I have some particular objectives: I want to learn to make some foods that are seasonally appropriate, that I like eating, and that can be grown in a New England garden. I don’t currently have a garden, but I would like to someday soon, and I would like to know what sorts of things I would like to plant in that garden.   Most of this is summertime cooking, though.  I also want to learn to make some dishes that are appropriate for cooking for myself, and having leftovers for lunches during school days, or for cooking for visitors to my house, because I want to start having more dinner guests for feast and festival.  Accordingly, here goes recipe #2:

Salsa Verde.

Alice Waters describes Salsa Verde as the green sauce common to Italy… and then goes on to explain that it’s made with a variety of herbs, but here we’re learning to make it with parsley. It’s not until I’m done making it that I realize… Oh. This is pesto. This is parsley pesto made without pine-nuts and without parmesan. And it’s delicious… But I go through the same process to make this as to make pesto.

It is not particularly complicated to make. Mostly, I loosely chop the parsley leaves, realize this is going to be a lot of work to do by hand, get out the Cuisinart, and add together the garlic, the olive oil, and the salt and pepper.  It’s delicious, of course.  I eat a small spoonful from the leftovers I can’t scrape out of the Cuisinart. And I put another spoonful into the sautéed cauliflower I made later as part of my dinner.

This is much easier to make than the cucumber salad, but it’s not a meal by itself — it’s meant to go on top of something else, whether vegetables or meat or fish.  An elegant and lovely dish, and apparently easy to make with rosemary, basil (pesto!) or other herbal ingredients.  I’ll make this again sometime, and I think I’ll try it with pork chops sometime soon.

Recipe is in Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, on p. 45, where it’s ranked next to the fool-proof method for making your own vinaigrette, and just preceding the recipes for aïoli (mayonnaise) and herb butter.  I’ve made both of those recipes before, and enjoyed them, but I’d like to master them this summer so I don’t have to keep looking them up.

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