Classic Italian “Green Sauce”, Sauce Verde or Italian Salsa Verde. A cold condiment, it’s often used as a dip for grilled meats and vegetables in warmer months. Also, a favorite fast, fresh pasta sauce, when the weather is cold and you crave the fresh tastes of summer. Just blend and toss with fresh, hot pasta for an intense burst of big flavour.
Fresh, Green Sauce
Little more than parsley, basil, capers, green onion, garlic, anchovy (in some regions) and acid (either vinegar or lemon) bound with good olive oil, it’s big herbal power meets the craving I have in summer months for all things fresh and gives me that much needed break from the mid-winter blahs.
Italian Salsa Verde is a cousin to Argentina’s Chimichuri, the French Sauce Verte, the Mexican Tomitino or Avocado Salsa or our the other Italian favorite; Pesto. They all fall under a category of sauces that are highly fragrant, uncooked and usually served cold or at room temperature.
Versatility and Flavour
If using it for grilled meats, I often add a dash of Dijon mustard and a pinch of dried chilies. Italian Salsa Verde will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about six days. For lamb grilled lamb, add a rosemary or mint for a complimentary note. In the southern regions of Italy some add a dash of sugar and other spices, like sweet or smoked paprika.
This is a sauce that can be highly individualized according to taste. Some skip the anchovies and opt for a pure plant based version. Some prefer more garlic. Create to your signature version by adjusting the ratio of fresh herb to other ingredients. To me the trick to any good sauce or condiment is balance.
Heat. Toss. Serve
Blend until you have a good slurry, with all ingredients well mixed. To get that nice, smooth finish I add 1/3 of the olive oil to start, then drizzle in the remainder as I blend, like making a mayonnaise.
Personally, I like a slightly thicker consistency for fresh sauces pastas, this way when I add that dash of water I need to reheat the pasta (just prior to adding a big scoop of sauce), I get a smooth sauce that coats my pasta without making it loose and runny.
1 bunch (4 – 5 stalks) green onion, lightly chopped
6 anchovy fillets
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or slightly less of red-wine vinegar)
1/2 cup good, cold pressed olive oil
Add parsley, basil, capers, green onion (rough chopped) anchovy, garlic, lemon juice and approximately 1/3 of your olive oil to your food processor. Blend while drizzling in the remainder of your olive oil to make a thick, slushy sauce.
Reserve cold until needed. If you’re skipping the anchovies, add salt to taste.
Some skip the anchovies and opt for a pure plant based version. Others prefer more garlic. Once you try Italian Salsa a Verde, create it your taste. If using Italian Sauce a Verde for meats, I add a dash of Dijon mustard. This fresh herb sauce will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about six days. For lamb, add a some rosemary or mint. Or change it up with a dash of sugar and sweet or smoked paprika. Italian Green Sauce is highly individualized according to region and taste.
Prep Time:15 mins
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Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.