Listen to the applause circle the globe as I am FINALLY posting the recipe for the Green Machine Salsa Verde. This recipe starting making the rounds with the Fajita Pot Lucky two years ago and has appeared in various iterations ever since, most recently at the All American BBQ Pot Lucky. Requested on the reg, I found when trying to share the recipe that I had continually been reinventing the ratios and ingredients. This is finally the definitive formula which I tested again just this week for another Pot Lucky, to be posted very soon.
The Green Machine, while technically a Salsa Verde that can be used on its own in the traditional green sauce way, is so named because it’s a workhorse. Check out the laundry list of possibilities below. I’m not suggesting you try all these things at once – that’s for professionals, kids! – but this fajita above has the Salsa Verde as a marinade for both chicken and veg; it’s mixed with sour cream for the grand dollop, and it’s kicking up the guacamole. Try any one or two at a time, but pace it out.
What is Salsa Verde?
Unless you are living under a rock, you have no doubt come across this delicious dazzler. Every country has its own version: Italy has pesto, but also a parsley-based verde with capers and anchovies; Mexico’s includes cilantro and chilis; in various Asian countries you will find green curries; and of course, Argentina’s famous chimichurri is chockablock with parsley. The name chimichurri came with the arrival of the Basques in the late 19th century and their word tximitxurri, meaning a mixture of things in no particular order. This, too, is a sort of no rules recipe!
The recipe featured here is Mexican-based. Lots of cilantro, roasted chilis, tomatillos and lime juice. I used Hatch chilis, which are just starting to come into the market right now. They are exclusive to the Hatch Valley in New Mexico, and if you are lucky enough, your local store may have a few days or a week of offering them, most likely from the good people at Melissa’s Produce. Check their site to see if there are any stores near you. (They are at D&W in Grand Haven today!) The chilis, which have an earthy taste and varying degrees of heat, mature in a very short window in late August and September. My store roasts them for me, but I clean off the char and pull out the seeds and stems before zipping to freeze. It makes it infinitely easier to just pull out a few at a time all winter to throw into soups and stews, and, yes, more Salsa Verde, should I run out.
If you don’t get them, feel free to roast some poblanos or even use fresh jalapenos should you be grill-averse after a summer of BBQs.
How do you thicken Salsa Verde?
Some versions of this yummy sauce may have you reducing down the mixture on the stove to thicken. Me: “Just say no!” I feel that kills all those bright and beautiful greens and turns it to a dull olive drab. I have two hacks to help with this. First I add a ripe avocado to thicken things up, and second I add a slow drizzle of olive oil with the processor running to emulsify the sauce. The avo may shorten the life a skosh, but you will go through it quickly so that’s never been a problem. You can also divvy it up into smaller containers and freeze small batches of it. You might even consider an ice cube tray to create portioned cubes of the saucy wonder. I have some in my shop that make large cubes and are covered for both easy stacking and keeping the freezer burn at bay.
Salsa Verde Uses
Here are just a few of the many ways you can mix this green goodness into your daily life:
On the table as a condiment (photo below) – amazing with grilled meats
As a drizzle on cheeses (above on a Caprese) How about a burrata drizzle?
Mixed with sour cream for a dip or dollop (Mexican condiment tray at bottom)
Stirred into guacamole for a kick up
Mixed with yogurt as a spread (I just used it on steak sliders)
Marinade for vegetables, chicken, fish, or meats (vegetables below)
Glaze to brush on dishes just before they come off the grill
Spice up a tortilla soup …..or any other soup or stew
Eggs, hell yaas! How about that Mexican egg layered number, the chilaquiles?
Salad dressing – mix with buttermilk and make it creamy
Drizzle on a citrus salad? Grilled fish! Sauteed scallops! Steaks!
Anything tortilla based – Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, y mas!
Cocktails! Shake it up with some lime juice and tequila! How about adding an oyster shooter to that combo? Oh yeah!
However you chose to use it, please report back. Comments and shares keep this blog going. I know you are going to love this and can’t wait to hear how you put this to use. Enjoy!
The Green Machine, while technically a Salsa Verde that can be used on its own in the traditional green sauce way, is so-named because it’s a workhorse. Check out the laundry list of possible ideas from marinade, to dip, to dressing, to cocktails.
2 cloves garlic
2 roasted Hatch or poblanos chilis, seeds and ribs removed
3 cups arugula, tightly packed
1 bunch of Italian parsley, bottom stems discarded
1 bunch cilantro, bottom stems discarded
juice of 4 limes (1/2 cup)
3 medium tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
1 avocado, scooped from the skin
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil plus 1/4 cup water
With the motor running, drop the garlic in the work bowl of a food processor until minced.
Add the chilis, arugula, parsley and cilantro in batches, pulsing as you add to create enough room and to chop finely.
Add the lime juice, tomatillos, avocado and salt. Pulse all ingredients until pureed.
With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and water. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Taste to adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, lime juice or olive oil to balance the flavor. Final seasoning will depend on the chilis used and the “flavorfulness” of your herbs and arugula.
If you don’t have roasted Hatch chilis in your freezer (autumn is the time to buy them fresh, possibly already roasted by your local store, and stock your freezer for the coming months) nor feel like firing up the grill to roast poblanos, substitute 1-2 fresh jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed
Serve as a dressing, marinade, salsa or sauce. If needed, you can thin with additional lime juice or water. Mix with sour cream or Greek yogurt to make a sauce or dip. Add to guacamole to kick up the guac heat. If using as a marinade, use 1 1/2 Tablespoons per chicken breast or per half-pound of meat.
Who are you ugly-looking, cardoon-like stalk hanging out in my farmers’ market? Why are you catching my eye now? Are you a fruit? A vegetable? What can I do with you? You look absolutely flavorless from here! Why why why would I want to take you home?
Well, friends, I am here to tell you how this homely VEGETABLE – yes, not a fruit – can change your life. Like right this very minute. Only 5 minutes of chopping and 7 minutes of stirring and you have the hottest condiment of the season – a zesty gingery dried cherry and lime rhubarb chutney flavor-bomb.
Despite being a vegetable which grows from rhizomes (think ginger), rhubarb is most often treated like a fruit – jams, pies, cobblers, and crisps. That’s because its super tart acidity begs for the addition of something sweet. The large triangular leaves look a bit like the Caribbean vegetable callaloo or even taro. However they are generally considered poisonous. You won’t see them at the market (that would be a mean farmer), but you will see them if you grow your own. Best to steer clear. They are only a problem if ingested so don’t worry about harvest.
And, you might be wondering about the wide range of color. Sometimes it’s kind of baby diarrhea green, and sometimes its ruby red. In general, the red comes out first in the season and is from a hot-house, and the green is more likely to be field grown showing up later in the season. But color also varies by variety. There are dozens of varietals with flashy names ranging from Egyptian Queen to Prince Albert. The variety German Wine has pink speckling on green stalks, while Fraulein Sharfer Torte has very fat, red stalks. The taste will not vary much, but the appearance of the end product depends on produce selected. Choose stalks that are firm and crisp. Since I got a color combo when purchasing recently, I divided the pieces, while chopping, by color. I cooked the greener pieces down first to get the creamy base and then added the redder pieces in later to add a bit of texture and the bright color. Whether or not you separate by color will not impact taste, just the aesthetics.
One way to heighten and set the color of any red or blue fruit (or vegetable) is to add acid. Often chutneys call for vinegar, and as I was perusing my cabinet for the perfect choice, I saw the two limes I had purchased just for this purpose and forgotten about. Genius! It was a maiden voyage using lime in chutney prep and oh-so-delicious. I served this gingery rhubarb chutney on fresh goat cheese the other day and the first cry from the crowd was “limey deliciousness!” It is a match made in heaven.
Making Rhubarb Chutney
I also chose dried cherries to add both to the redness of the finished dish and to add a pop of rich dark fruit. Dried fruit in chutney is classic, but golden raisins wouldn’t have done either of the twin duties that dried cherries took on. Chutneys are all about balancing tart and sweet and contrasting textures, often with a touch of heat. This rhubarb chutney recipe combines tart rhubarb with sweet dried cherries and balances the perkiness of lime juice and zest with sugar. Crystallized ginger adds both heat and texture. And adding the chopped rhubarb in two stages further adds contrasts in texture. Because of all the acidity in the dish, be sure to store in a non-reactive (glass) airtight dish.
If you find yourself with an abundance of rhubarb stalks, trim and chop the stalks and spread out in a single layer and freeze. Once the pieces are frozen, you can place them in a Ziploc bag and store more compactly. This will give you an off-season supply to make fresh rhubarb chutney to go with your Christmas goose or Easter ham. I love to top fresh cheeses like goat or fresh ricotta with this chutney or serve with grilled or roast meats like pork, chicken or game. Enjoy!
Chutneys are all about balancing tart and sweet and contrasting textures, often with a touch of heat. This rhubarb chutney recipe combines tart rhubarb with sweet dried cherries and balances the perkiness of lime juice and zest with sugar. Crystallized ginger adds both heat and texture.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add lime zest and juice, dried cherries, and crystallized ginger. Return to heat, and bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Add sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved. Add about half the rhubarb (see note) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the rhubarb dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining rhubarb. Simmer until the rest of the rhubarb just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.
Taste and adjust flavor, adding additional sugar or lime juice to balance to your desired level of sweetness.
I saved the reddest pieces for the second addition of rhubarb to boost the color of the finished dish.
This can be refrigerated in a non-reactive container, covered, for several weeks.
Serve with cheeses from Brie or fresh Ricotta to Manchego and Parmesan. Also pairs well with grilled meats like chicken and pork.