Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

A touch of magic for summer

What does summer taste like for you?

Does it evoke memories of juicy fruit, refreshing drinks, or sizzling barbecues? Something else?


For me, summer is the season of fresh flavours, vibrant colours and eating outdoors.

It’s also a time I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen; I much rather sit outside with a cool drink. Or even better, take cooking outsdoors too!

If you have been in my world for a while you’ll know that I love making ‘magic sauce’.

It’s one of those kitchen ‘hacks’ that can make even the plainest meals exciting, in no time at all. 

A jar of this or that keeps well in the fridge and is guaranteed to add instant magic to your plate. Perfect for lazy summer cooking!


Green magic

So yesterday I made a new batch of magic sauce: Italian style salsa verde (also known as 'bagna verde').

It’s a bright green, herby, tangy, gutsy conconction that really tastes like summer to me.

It's a veritable explosion of flavours: 

  • handfuls of herbs (parsley & mint, usually, but anything goes)
  • capers
  • anchovies
  • garlic
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • I like adding a touch of mustard to my version

Chop finely or just whiz through a blender, taste and adjust for balance, and you're done!
Keep in the fridge, in a jar covered with a thick layer of olive oil.


Goes really well with anything grilled or roasted (meat, fish, aubergine, peppers, tomatoes...) but it’s also just the ticket to brighten simple boiled potatoes, steamed veggies, eggs any way, and lots more, including boring leftovers! (Try mixing it with homemade mayo for a creamy yet punchy dip.)

Now that I have a jar in the fridge it will go on pretty much anything!

I first came across salsa verde in Nigel Slaters‘s book Appetite (here's an online version). It was a revelation back then, and it still is, every single time I make it.

It's amazing how much a little sauce can transform something from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Once you try it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.



Green variations

Salsa verde is a classic with many variations - in fact there are many kinds of ‘green sauce’: they’re all based on the same concept with local variations of ingredients and flavours.

Mexican salsa verde is more of a salsa than a sauce and is usually made with tart tomatillos, chillies, cordiander/cilantro and garlic.

Chimichurri is a tangy, more chunky salsa (chopped rather than blended), at home in Argentina and Uruguay. It’s made with parsley, garlic, vinegar, chilli, oregano and oil, eaten drizzled on grilled meats, or used as a marinade. It's also great for adding a pop of flavour to rice dishes, roasted vegetables, and leftovers.


And if you feel adventurous, here are even more variations on the theme:

  • Pesto (Italian)
  • Pistou (French)
  • Gremolata (Italian)
  • Chermoula (North African)
  • Zhug (Yemeni/Israeli)
  • Prik gaeng khiao waan (Thai green curry paste)
  • Chrain (Eastern European Jewish)
  • Ssamjang (Korean)
  • Skordalia (Greek)


Categories: : COOK


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