My Recipe Box

Pesto-Style Salsa Verde

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Yields 1 cup.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 72

This smooth herb sauce is more like a pesto than a traditional salsa verde. It’s delicious with anything grilled: fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, beef, and even vegetables. I use red chile flakes for heat and round out that heat with freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar

Heat the oven to 400ºF. Spread the almonds in a pie pan and toast the almonds in the oven until lightly golden, about 8 min. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water heavily (it should taste like sea water). Add the parsley and basil leaves to the pot and blanch for 1 min. Drain the leaves and immediately transfer them to a colander under cold running water or to an ice bath. When the leaves have cooled, squeeze them dry with your hands.

Put the toasted almonds, the blanched parsley and basil, the cilantro, garlic, chile flakes, 1/2  tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a blender or food processor. With the machine on, gradually pour the olive oil into the feed tube and process until the mixture becomes a thick purée. The salsa verde may be made to this point a day ahead and refrigerated.

Return the salsa verde to room temperature, if chilled, and stir in the  vinegar just before serving to prevent discoloration.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 220; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 2; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 94; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

I love serving this dish for guests, because it's impressive, yet it allows me to prepare much of the meal ahead of time so that I don't spend all of my time in the kitchen. In the past, I've occasionally had to make this with a cut of meat my butcher calls "flap meat" (he says it's often used for fajitas), because skirt has not always been available. Both cuts of meat have turned out well. I always serve this in the summer months when juicy heirloom tomatoes are available, because they are such a great partner for the salsa verde. Also, I usually have a little of the salsa verde left over. I freeze it for future use on grilled swordfish steaks, and it's divine.

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