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5 Ways to Make Mediterranean–Style Salsa Verde

If you’re going to serve one sauce to go with everything that comes off the grill, make it pesto’s punchier, more rustic cousin: a Mediterranean–style salsa verde. The classic has herbs (usually parsley), capers, garlic, anchovies and olive oil, but the variations are endless. Here are five ways to play around.

1. Mix up the herbs. Salsa verde almost needs the fresh greenness of parsley, but don’t let that stop you from adding everything else in your herb garden. Frenchify it with tarragon and chervil or to add texture along with flavor, throw in fried sage.

2. Try another verde. Instead of or in addition to herbs, use fresh greens like arugula, turnip greens or dandelion greens. You can also use greens with some built-in seasoning, like brined grape leaves or dried nori.

3. Toss in some cheese or nuts. No, this isn’t pesto—it’s much too chunky and tangy for that. But you can still add richer ingredients, like cheese and nuts. Briny feta and mild, salty ricotta salata are spectacular with the capers and anchovies in the salsa. As for nuts, they’re all fair game.

4. Clean out the fridge. That jar of piquillo peppers you’ve had in there for months? Chop ’em up and add ’em. Same goes for cornichons, preserved lemons and any other pickle.

5. Change up the acid. Lemon juice is popular (this is a Mediterranean sauce, after all) but you can also use vinegar. Sherry vinegar is especially nice. Just hold the too-sweet balsamic. 

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Cooking with Herbs
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27 Terrific Grilling Recipes

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