Kristina’s Salsa Verde

Chickpea and farro salad with fennel radish and salsa verde

The more you cook, the more you develop your signature style. Anyone who eats our food knows that well toasted nuts, strategically placed cheese and tons of citrus are a few of the What We Eat team’s hallmarks. But if there is one thing that defines our cooking, it’s our ridiculously abundant use of fresh herbs.

There is no better way to impart explosive flavor than with fresh herbs. Mint, cilantro, parsley and scallions are constants on our grocery lists, but we also reserve a place in our hearts for tarragon, basil, sage and dill. Of course, there are many others, but having the above on hand at any given time is crucial to the success of any meal.

Smorgasbord with Salsa Verde

An added perk to our herb obsession is that we find ourselves with an surplus of odds and ends at the end of the week…a few stems sprouting sad broken parsley leaves, a handful of bruised cilantro or one lone sprig of rosemary. What to do with these little bits that are too often thrown away as casualty or waste? There is a simple answer, a lesson I learned years ago that has since been held close and always remembered. Let me paint a picture for you…

It was 2010. I was sitting outside at an Italian bistro, sipping chilled white wine, awaiting my meal, a perfect day. Then the roast chicken was placed in front of me. After savoring my first bite of the tender meat, I questioned aloud, “What is it that makes this simple meal so unbelievably amazing?” As they say, the secret is in the sauce.

Roast chicken with lemon zest and salsa verde green sauce

Drizzled across the crisp and charred chicken skin was a thin but vibrantly green dressing, the ingredients of which were so frustratingly mysterious and difficult to pinpoint that it warranted further investigation. My helpful waiter informed me it was salsa verde (aka green sauce), a mix of whatever herbs they had on hand. Herbs + olive oil + blender = magical sauce served as an accoutrement to any dish from red meats to poultry, fish or vegetables. This aha moment will forever stick with me. Salsa verde, the endlessly versatile little black dress of sauces, appears as a star in many of my meals. It’s my signature.

Therefore, it is finally time to share the recipe for my secret sauce. Keep in mind that certain ingredients may be omitted or altered, but that the recipe below is what I have found to be the tastiest. I’ve gotten Laura and Rian hooked on it as well, so next time one of them makes you something with an impossibly delicious green sauce, you’ll know who deserves credit.

With love, Kristina:)

Salsa Verde

  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chives
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1-3 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4th teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup olive oil

Roughly chop all herbs, garlic and anchovies and then place all ingredients other than the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse the contents of the food processor and then gradually stream in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

The end result should be a vibrantly green sauce in which the original integrity of some of the herbs is still apparent. This means that it should look like more of a rough chop rather than a paste or puree. We like to keep it rustic. Drizzle over any meal of choice and serve. Enjoy!

Roast carrot and egg salad with salsa verde