Italian salsa verde — not to be confused with the spicy Mexican sauce of the same name — is bright with herbs and deeply flavored with olive oil, garlic, capers, lemon, and sometimes anchovies.
It’s an easy way to add lively freshness to simple dishes such as grilled chicken or fish, potato salad and sliced tomatoes. There’s no long simmering or blending required. You simply whisk the ingredients together until you reach the consistency of a loose pesto.
Here are tips:
• A sharp knife slices cleanly through fresh herbs, preserving flavor and color, while a dull knife mashes and bruises them. You can use a food processor, but I prefer the texture of hand chopping.
• When zesting a lemon, avoid the bitter white pith beneath. The zest brightens the flavor of the sauce. A Microplane zester is an excellent tool for the job.
• Feel free to vary proportions. I tend to use less oil for a thicker consistency when I serve salsa verde alongside roasted meats and grilled vegetables, and more oil with fish or chicken.
• To adapt the salsa for use with steak, substitute red-wine or balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice and zest, and add Dijon mustard to taste.
Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”