Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Salsa Verde

I am firmly in the camp of loving sauces and when I cook I probably give more attention to the sauce than to anything else. To me it can either make or ruin a dish. First of all a sauce can mask a few disasters, you can pour it over any ugly bits for example. Also the colour of the sauce can really bring out the presentation, and of course sauces add complexity, moisture and taste to the dish.

It is imperative to match the sauce with the dish, I have lost count of the times I have eaten in restaurants where the sauce took over the whole plate, its taste was so strong it overpowered everything else you were eating.

Anyway, this post is about SALSA VERDE. The real beauty of this amazing sauce is how versatile it is, it works brilliantly on vegetables (particularly roasted or grilled), and it is fabulous on grilled meat and fish. In fact it would probably be great on cornflakes! It is also such a wonderful, vibrant colour, which adds to the visual presentation of the dish.

The list of ingredients for salsa verde looks ominous but please, please don't be put off, it is really worth the effort. Herbs are generally pretty cheap here in Dubai and everything on this list is very easy to find.

The two things that make this incredible sauce only 99% perfection is that firstly I am afraid to tell you that everything must be chopped by hand and not in the whizzer (it turns to a grey gloopy mess....believe me, I've tried!) and secondly it doesn't really keep that well, it needs to be used within 48 hours.

So here goes, generally I am not very good at measuring stuff when I cook so this is all a bit of guess work.


An equal amount (handful) of flat-leaf parsley, mint, coriander and basil, washed and chopped roughly.
Heaped teaspoon of capers, rinsed, chopped
2 spring onions chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
2 anchovy fillets, broken up
2 teaspoons tablespoon dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon (if you zap the lemon in a microwave for about 6 or 7 secs first it is much easier to juice)
Sea salt & fresh pepper (to taste)

Put all of the above into large glass bowl and then pour slowly and stir in EV olive oil until you get a sloppy mess. You will need about 50ml of olive oil, maybe a bit more. Keep slowly adding the oil until you achieve the right consistency; it should be a bit sloppy, not really runny, but not all dry looking either.

Voila, the most divine, yummy sauce.

What I prefer to do is substitute the lemon and olive oil part for a couple of tablespoons (or more) of 'classic vinaigrette’. It makes for a slightly richer sauce.

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