Salsa Verde, Italian Style

This recipe for Italian salsa verde — not to be confused with the spicy Mexican sauce of the same name — comes from the Food section of the Miami Herald.  Salsa Verde is bright with herbs and deeply flavored with olive oil, garlic, capers, lemon, and sometimes anchovies.  It’s full of flavor and packs a ton of nutrition from pathogen fighting herbs.

There’s no long simmering or blending required. You simply whisk the ingredients together until you reach the consistency of a loose pesto.  This sauce is versatile: add it to a salad, use as a dip, top fish or meat after cooking or grilling.

Here are some tips:

• 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.  Here’s the recipe along with a serving suggestion: wild caught salmon!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it's easy to make at home!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it’s easy to make at home!

Crispy Salmon with Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 salmon fillets (about 2 pounds total), skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 lemon wedges, for garnish

Procedure:

Mix the herbs with the capers, garlic, lemon zest and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in a large nonstick pan. Cook salmon in a single layer until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn, season with salt and pepper, and cook other side until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir lemon juice into herb mixture. To serve, place a salmon fillet on each plate and top with the sauce. Serve garnished with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Wine Country Cooking” by Joanne Weir (Time-Life $27.50).

Per serving: 341 calories (68 percent from fat), 25.6 g fat (5 g saturated, 11.2 g monounsaturated), 67 mg cholesterol, 25.4 g protein, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fiber, 203 mg sodium.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”

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Sicilian Cauliflower and Black Olive Gratin

I found this recipe on the New York Times web site and was excited to try cooking cauliflower a new way.  When Dana and I arrived for Sunday dinner at my parents house last week this cauliflower and olive dish was just coming out of the oven!  It was yummy but we all agreed: more cheese, smaller olives.  So I have changed the recipe just a bit based on how the original recipe turned out.

Goes well with red wine!

Goes well with pork roast from Holiday Farms : – )

Ingredients:

  • 1 generous head green or white cauliflower (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 imported oil-cured black olives, pitted and cut in half or chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan
  • note: The Romano is delicious but because it’s lower in fat it doesn’t get nice and gooey when it melts.  Use half mozzarella with a really flavorful Romano or use 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar instead.

Procedure:

1. Break up the cauliflower into small florets while you bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the cauliflower. Boil 5 minutes while you fill a bowl with ice and water. Transfer the cauliflower to the ice water, let sit for a couple of minutes, then drain and place on clean tea towels.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes, and add a pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant and translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the olives.

3. Place the cauliflower in the baking dish and add the onion and olive mixture, the remaining olive oil, the parsley and half the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir together well. Spread out in the dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: Serves 6

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Advance preparation: The cauliflower can be cooked and refrigerated for up to three days. The dish can be prepared through Step 2 several hours before assembling the gratin. Hold on top of the stove or in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 177 calories; 13 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 9 milligrams cholesterol; 9 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 377 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 7 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”