Browsing Tag

olive oil

Italian Salsa Verde

Italian salsa verde is one of the simplest classic sauces in Italy, not to be confused with the equally delicious but entirely different south of the border version made with tomatillo and jalapeno. This sauce is all about olive oil and parsley. The ingredients are so basic you can kind of whip this up fast and on the fly if you need a last minute dip, sauce or spread.

You can chop it by hand or pulse it a few times briefly in a food processor. Here’s the thing and it just might be my favorite thing, there is no right or wrong way here. What matters is that it makes a weekend night dinner not only delicious but fast. You are not cutting corners or compromising because something in a jar is easier. I guarantee you can make this faster than it takes to heat up a jar of pasta sauce.

I like basil so I use half parsley and half basil. It’s up to you. You could use all parsley or even add mint. Classically this is made with capers. But if I have a tub of olives or cornichons in the fridge I’m gonna use them instead. The last time I made this I didn’t have capers but I did have some gorgeous little red pickled peppers, so I used them and the end results was a zesty and herby treat for our grilled flank steaks a couple weeks ago.

Ingredients
1 c. flat leaf parsley (clean, leaves and thin stems)
1 c. basil leaves
1 lemon (zest only)
1 garlic clove (peeled)
1 T. dijon mustard
1 anchovy rinsed and drained (optional)
¼ c. capers, olives, cornichons or pickled peppers (make sure to pit the olives)
½ c. olive oil
Salt + pepper to taste

Method

  1. If you make using a food processor, add everything to the processor and pulse a few times. Check seasoning to see if you need to add any additional salt and pepper and BOOM you’re done!!
  2. If you want to chop by hand, chop garlic and lemon zest until finely chopped. Put in bowl.
  3. Roughly chop parsley and basil and add to bowl.
  4. Chop anchovy and add to bowl.
  5. Chop capers and add to bowl.
  6. Stir in dijon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Check seasoning.

Component in Action
-a dip for crudite (aka raw veggies)
-a sauce for grilled fish and meats
-add lemon juice and make into a zesty salad vinaigrette
-a drizzle for roasted or grilled veggies
-a spread for croustinis (aka toasted bread slices)
-a delicious pasta sauce

Lemon Vinaigrette

The summer session starts today! I know, i know..it’s not summer yet, but on sunny days in New Mexico, it sure feels like it, so let’s just consider this a big and flavorful gearing up for a fun summer of great food. Once a week, we will dive into a chef level, core cooking recipe. The goals (like the recipes) are simple, to help you become an expert, inspired and confident in incorporating this gem into your cooking life. One recipe at a time. One week at a time.

These essential recipes are the same ones I scribbled in many a notebook throughout my time in culinary school and restaurant kitchens. When you learn how to cook professionally, you don’t start by learning how to make an entire feast. You begin by learning the bits and pieces: the vinaigrette, the stock, the brine, the dough, etc.

As you learn and gain confidence, you start putting the pieces together and soon your instincts start to kick in. This is where real cooking happens. When you are no longer bound by the chains of a recipe. Once the core recipes and techniques become familiar, they start to make sense in a new way, kind of like learning a language. Before long, stringing four core recipes together to form an entire meal is no big deal.

Keep your recipes close for pastry and baking, but keep a tasting spoon close for savory cooking. Your taste buds are king and queen of the kitchen! With that royal proclamation, let’s begin with one of the easiest and most important (yet unappreciated) recipes of all, lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon vinaigrette (aka Lemon Vin.) is versatile and variable.  It can be used in countless ways and can also morph into many different variations. In it’s most basic form, it is fresh lemon juice and olive oil (acid + fat) whisked together to create a bright dressing that brings out the best in many different foods. One of my favorite ways to use lemon vin. is tossed with a simple salad of arugula, apple and Parmesan cheese. It can be spooned over roasted vegetables, drizzled over fish, spiced up and the lemon juice can even be swapped out for different citrus juice or vinegar.

Here is my go-to way to make it:

Ingredients
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 t. of dijon vinegar
1 t. honey
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1.) Whisk or blend all ingredients together.

Component in Action
-use a dip for raw veggies
-instead of just lemon juice, try a mix of lemon, orange and lime
-add a bit of sliced garlic clove
-add finely chopped fresh herbs (like thyme, rosemary or dill)
-add dried spices like ground turmeric or smoked paprika