Italian Salsa Verde {recipe} – The (God) Mother of All Sauces

Italian Salsa Verde {recipe} – The (God) Mother of All Sauces

Italian salsa verde

The culinary world needs to re-think the concept of the “mother sauces” …

And just consider Italian salsa verde “The (God) Mother of All Sauces.”

I know. I’ve said something along those lines before. Many times. And each time, I am positive that “this is the greatest sauce on the planet. Ever. Period. Forget what I said before about…” I said it about Green Goddess Dressing. Then Kale Walnut Pesto. And Momofuku’s Ginger Scallion Sauce. Fish sauce vinaigrette. More recently about Tahini Lemon Vinaigrette.

I know. I’ve said it before, but this time it’s different. This one really is the one.

This. Is. It.
Italian Salsa Verde - herb ingredients
Bright. Gorgeous. Aggressive. (And I’m not talking about the middle-aged Asian food blogger who made this sauce in her kitchen yesterday *ahem*.) Salsa Verde was meant to accompany a simple roast chicken (Jonathan Waxman’s recipe via New York Times, which I’ll share shortly), but I couldn’t help myself from taking increasingly bigger “tastes” of the stuff with a spoon right from the food processor before we even sat down for dinner. What little we had leftover transformed a bowl of plain quinoa into an amazing side dish the next night. With a few spoonfuls of water and lemon juice, salsa verde becomes a vinaigrette for salads and vegetables.

I don’t have to imagine how good it will taste with pan-fried tofu and buckwheat soba because I’m going to try it tomorrow.

I promise I won’t ever feel this way again. Maybe. Until I make homemade hot cock next week.
Italian Salsa Verde

Italian Salsa Verde

adapted from a recipe to accompany Roast Chicken in chef Jonathan Waxman’s cookbook Italian, My Way
{via New York Times}

makes about 1 cup


1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy fillets
3 cloves garlic (peeled, green germ removed)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup arugula, chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I omitted cilantro because it’s disgusting and substituted extra parsley, spinach would work, too)
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (whatever amount I used, it was too much. next time, I’m going to omit this altogether)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt


Rinse capers in cold water, then drain.

Soak anchovies in cold water for 5 minutes, then pat dry and remove the bones.

Using a mortar and pestle (or a food processor), smash the capers, anchovies and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add all the herbs and remaining olive oil. (The mixture should be chunky, not oily.) Season with sea salt.

Serve alongside roast chicken. Or with other roasted meats. Or with bread as a dip. Or mixed into quinoa. Or just eat it plain. Whatever.

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