Hello, Earth Day. You’re the prefect day to share my enthusiastic love of Alice Waters’ cookbook, In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart. It’s one of those cookbooks that everyone interested in fresh seasonal food should add to their collection (it would make a great gift for a college grad). Alice has partnered with an A-list line-up of chefs, all sharing fresh, simple, beautiful recipes that make up the backbone of any home cooks’ repertoire.
In the Green Kitchen embodies the philosophy I share here on Eat Drink Garden— you don’t have to do too much to food to make it taste delicious, you just have to choose ingredients wisely, eat what’s in season and you’re golden.
My enthusiastic love goes way beyond this new cookbook. Even though I cringe at the word, I’m a total Alice Waters groupie. I have every cookbook she has written, all laden with dog-eared post-its and sauce stains on the pages.
On Saturday, April 27th Alice Waters is giving a (sold out) lecture at my alma mater, UCSB. I’m excited for the lecture and thrilled at the opportunity to meet her at a private reception beforehand. It is rare and special to actually get the chance to come face to face with someone who has, and I don’t mean to get too mushy but…inspired my life.
Back to the cookbook, this salsa verde recipe is a great example of fresh, simple and delicious. This bright sauce will heighten the taste and appearance of any protein or vegetable you decide to make. Simply grill some meat and drizzle the sauce over and you’ve got a beautiful showstopper. This weekend, I grilled some chicken legs for the kids and made this salsa verde as a side, it turned a kids meal into something special.
I made some small changes based on my personal taste preferences and that is what I’ve shared below. The book does a great job of including some terrific adaptations, but for those, you’ll have to buy the book!
From In the Green Kitchen
Makes about ¾ cup
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1 pinch red chili flakes
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
Grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup Italian parsley leaves, washed, dried, and chopped
About ½ cup olive oil
In a mortar, pound the garlic and capers and anchovies to a paste. (Or, if you don’t have a mortar, chop them together very fine.) Stir in the shallot, lemon zest, red chili, freshly chopped parsley, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the salsa sit for 30 minutes or so for the flavors to develop, then taste again for seasoning. Add the lemon juice just before serving time; if you add it in advance it will discolor the pretty green.
I will mix all the ingredients except the lemon juice and keep it in the mortar, cover with some plastic wrap and then place the 1/2 lemon on the top of the plastic. That reminds me I need to add it before I serve the dish.
Val’s note: If you are tempted to make this in your food process or blender, don’t. The beauty of this sauce is the texture, chop finely with a knife and you’ll be fine, Justine, it’s super quick to pull together, step away from the Vitamix.
Here are a few proteins from the site that would be a great match for the sauce: