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.
Are you full yet? I know. I know. The mind reels that we are still talking about food. But trust me – this dish does not disappoint. And, be honest. Turkey sandwiches start to feel redundant. Turkey Tetrazzini, a dish I grew up on, however is creamy, hearty, and full of mushroomy goodness. My mom found her recipe (very, very loosely translated below, in part because 50 years ago directions were vague and ingredients were more a suggestion when “the homemaker” already knew how to cook) in the 1968 Panhellenic Meats Cookbook. “Every home should have a good meats cookbook. This cookbook is filled with wonderful recipes submitted by sorority members over the nation. Here you will find all sorts of mouth-watering meats – from tried-and-true favorites such as hamburger pie to exotic foreign treats.” These gals surely got around because despite foreign dishes starting off with lasagna and Canadian meat pie, they also ranged from Turkey to Taiwan to Tahiti.
Speaking of the 60s…who’s doesn’t like a good road trip to pick out dinner? I’ll take THAT one!
Tetrazzini was invented in a hotel (debates over whether it was San Francisco or NYC) in the early 1900s. Opera star Luisa Tetrazzini is its namesake. There is seemingly no standard for what ingredients are required, but it generally includes poultry, a cream sauce and long thin pasta. The Meats Cookbook recipe may or may not call for sautéing the onion in bacon grease. I am not sure I can in good conscience call for that. And I’m here to assure you that I always choose the healthier EVOO. But you should know that is probably a lie. It is definitely a lie. It’s your cholesterol. Do what you will. For goodness sake, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Is this really the time to show restraint?
Instead of talking turkey, let’s just let the Tetrazzini do the talking!
3 Tablespoons flour
About 4 ounces butter, divided per instructions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, stem removed, seeded and diced
4 shallots, minced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 pound spaghetti
4 cups chopped turkey
2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (are you saving the fat for shallot sauté?)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs or seasoned breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350oF. Butter a 9x13x2-inch 3-quart casserole.
I’m switching it up here and making a cross between a milk-based Béchamel white sauce and a chicken broth based Velouté. That makes it creamy and also a bit lighter.
Start by making a roux, using 3 Tablespoons each of butter and flour. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux the texture of wet sand. Let it start to bubble and continue for one minute. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the celery and peppers and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened, whisking from time to time to make sure the sauce does not stick, and the vegetables are softened.
Prep the Veggies:
Meanwhile, add 1 Tablespoon of the remaining butter (or the bacon fat if using) to a sauté pan and add the shallots. Sauté until golden and a bit crispy, about 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Add an additional 2 Tablespoons of butter to the pan and sauté the mushrooms until browned.
Cook the Pasta:
Cook the pasta according to package directions, under-cooking by a minute or so. Drain.
Time to Combine:
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, shallots and Parmesan.
In a large bowl, add the pasta, turkey, mushrooms, cheddar, and gradually add the sauce, folding to combine evenly. Add half the parsley/shallot/Parmesan mixture and toss well. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.
Top the pasta mixture with the remaining parsley/shallot/Parmesan mixture and sprinkle with the bacon and breadcrumbs, dotting with 1 Tablespoon butter.
Bake it Off:
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until bubbly.
Note: Sometimes when I make this, I let it cool to room temperature and freeze until I need it. In that case, I add all the parsley/shallot/Parmesan mixture to the pasta before freezing, and wrap well, without additional toppings. Then when I am ready to bake it off, I top the thawed casserole with bacon, breadcrumbs, and a bit of fresh Parmesan or grated cheddar. Per Darryl Hannah in Steel Magnolias, “it’s in the freezes beautifully section of my cookbook.”
Serves ??? How much do you love this? At least 6 or 8, and more if you are willing to share.
This spin on a Beef Satay incorporates a marinade and a dipping sauce that both can be used in a myriad of ways. Use the marinade on pork, chicken or even fish and dip away in the peanut sauce with vegetables, eggrolls and dumplings, or use as a dressing on Chinese chicken salad.
1/4 cup grated ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons hoisin
2 Tablespoons black bean garlic paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed
14 ounce can coconut milk
1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste (sambal oelek)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
Make the marinade: Combine all marinade ingredients and marinate beef for one hour or overnight in a non-reactive pan, covered, in the refrigerator.
Make the dipping sauce: Heat coconut milk in a saucepan until reduced by half. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk together with remaining ingredients. Store in the refrigerator.
Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Sear in 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a hot sauté pan until well browned. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in a 450oF oven until desired doneness, about 15 minutes more for medium rare. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. Carve into thin slices and thread onto skewers.
To serve, fan out the skewers on a serving tray atop a bed of red & yellow diced peppers and sliced scallions. Accompany with a bowl of dipping sauce.