Herby Green Sauce aka Your Version of Salsa Verde, Chimichurri, Pesto, Etc.
I make this super simple sauce just about any time I have extra herbs around. It can be similar to an Italian salsa verde or an Argentinian chimichurri or an Italian pesto, but with any leafy herb like parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, etc. You'll want to stay away from the really strong woody herbs like rosemary or sage. But the cool part is that with many of those leafier herbs, you can also use the tender stem like those of cilantro and parsley. Yay for less waste! You can also use light but flavorful greens, like arugula and spinach. Best of all - this sauce is good on just about everything. In the past 24 hours, I have eaten it on scallops, eggs, avocado, bacon, roasted squash and carrots (aka literally everything I have eaten since I made it) - and I'm not sick of it yet. It's magical, seriously.
The Rough Recipe
- 3-ish cups mixed herbs and greens, including any tender stems
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, or more as desired
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon acid, like the vinegar of your choice or lemon juice (or more to taste)
- Kosher salt
Put the herbs and garlic in a food processor or finely chop them. Add the oil and pulse or mix until the sauce is rough and chunky, but fully incorporated. Add the acid and salt and season to taste.
But really - this sauce should be a more of a technique in your kitchen arsenal rather than a recipe measuring in cups and tablespoons. Because it's all about using up what you've got, and who has exactly 3 cups of herbs left over? Here's how I do it: I put whatever herbs and greens I've got into a food processor - could be anywhere from 1 to 4 cups, sometimes more. Then I add the garlic (maybe adding more cloves if it's a lot of herbs) and drizzle olive oil on top until it's wet enough to pulse easily. I pulse until it's roughly chopped - I like a chunkier salsa verde, but if you're going for more of a pesto-style, you could process until it's smooth. Keep adding olive oil slowly until it gets to a good consistency - you want enough oil so it's a cohesive sauce, but not so you have pools of oil. Then I splash in the acidic component (I like using vinegar so the sauce lasts longer (about a week in the fridge) than with fresh lemon juice (3-ish days in the fridge) and salt to taste. Don't undersalt - proper seasoning is what makes this sauce addictively, spoon-it-on-everything level delicious.
And there you go! If that's what you have, that's all you have. If you want to spice it up, you could add any of the following, roughly chopped or into the food processor:
- lemon zest
- scallions, shallot, or the allium of your choice
- red pepper flakes or fresh chili
- a handful of nuts, like pine nuts for a traditional pesto, or almonds, cashews, walnuts, whatever you have around
Then use it on just about everything. Slather it on your steak or your roast chicken. Swirl it into a frittata. Use it as a pasta sauce. Drizzle it onto any roasted vegetable. Spoon it onto your eggs, your avocado toast, your savory pancakes, your bread pudding....the list is endless.
P.S. Freeze your sauce and it'll last even longer!