Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

You have the green light to use these sauces

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Years ago, when I first read about chimichurri, the combination of parsley and cilantro put me off. How you could put together two crazily intense herbs and have it taste OK? I must have forgotten about this prejudice because I happily ventured into Moroccan food where the two herbs are commonly used together, both cooked and raw. I remembered all of this while constructing my first chimichurri.

And I also remembered all the wonderful green sauces that are made with simple, tender herbs. Some of them are cooked, and some raw. What I find especially interesting is how the herbs we use here are used in other cultures. Dill is used in Persian, Lao and Vietnamese food. Tarragon is normally associated with French food but it again shows up in Persian cuisine. Mint? It's used almost everywhere. The combination of cilantro and mint pops up all the time in southeast Asian and Indian cooking. And the two most common herbs in the world, parsley and cilantro? They love to travel around a lot of the southern hemisphere together.

Thinking about all these herbs has me visualizing a giant web of green covering most of the world, and I'm very happy for it.

Chimichurri

This Argentine sauce served with grilled meats, offal and sausages is versatile, just like its cousin, salsa verde. It is delicious as a sauce or marinade with beef and meaty fish such as albacore tuna.

1 cup (250 ml) fresh Italian or curly parsley, leaves and small stems, packed

1 cup (250 ml) cilantro, leaves and small stems, packed

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh oregano leaves or 2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1/2 cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp (2 ml) sea salt

1/4 tsp (1 ml) hot red pepper flakes

3 tbsp (45 ml) finely chopped onion

 

Combine all the ingredients, except the onion, in a food processor and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. Then pulse in the onion. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more vinegar and salt. Keeps for 5 days, covered and refrigerated. The olive oil in the sauce will thicken with refrigeration. Bring the sauce to room temperature before using.

Makes approximately 11/2 cups (375 ml)

 

Salsa Verde

From Italy, a wonderful green sauce that goes well with almost anything. Try tossing it with small, cooked potatoes or mushrooms, on fish -- especially salmon -- and with beef, chicken or pork. In other words, everything.

2 tsp (10 ml) drained capers

2 anchovy filets or 2 tsp (10 ml) anchovy paste

1 tsp (5 ml) minced garlic

1 cup (250 ml) Italian parsley, leaves and small stems, packed

1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh mint leaves, packed

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil leaves, packed

Finely grated zest of one lemon

1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice

1/2 to 1 cup (125 to 250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until almost smooth, drizzling in enough olive oil to keep the mixture fluid. Season to taste.

You may want to add more salt or lemon juice. Keeps for 5 days, covered and refrigerated. The olive oil in the sauce will thicken with refrigeration. Bring the sauce to room temperature before using.

Makes approximately 11/2 cups (375 ml)

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 5, 2013 C5

History

Updated on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:15 AM CDT: adds photo

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