Friday, December 02, 2011

Green Sauce

This Summer in Barcelona, we spent many nights nibbling on salty anchovies chased with glass after glass of bubbly cava. That may have been perfect for hot nights in Spain, but snacking on anchovy filets back home in NYC seems far less appealing. Don't get me wrong, I have a slight fondness for the way the soft, tiny bones crumble under my teeth. And how the oily flesh melts on the tongue. Anchovies, however, can overpower, leaving you sated after just one bite.

These tiny fish are near the top of the list when it comes to their anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acid content. Rich in the polyunsaturated fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), anchovies are an excellent addition to your diet. EPA and DHA have been shown to be excellent for inflammatory conditions, heart health, nervous tissue health, to name a few. The downside here is eating enough of those salty, fishy morsels. Let's look at how these fishes compare:


EPA + DHA (g)

Atlantic Salmon












Flounder and Sole



Regardless of how accurate, these numbers give us a rough estimate of what to expect when we eat fish. From this table, you probably think salmon is a tastier option than anchovies. You'd have to eat a lot of anchovies to get the same nutrients as salmon. However, unlike other fish, anchovies are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They are easily mixed into sauces and melt when they hit a hot pan. Drizzle an omega-3 rich sauce over that salmon and get a real dose of EPA and DHA.

I like to keep a small jar of anchovies on hand just in case I want to make salsa verde. This salsa verde, not to be confused with similar green sauces of French and Latin America origin, is the rustic Italian version. Try it over steaks, white fish, grilled veggies, or seared scallops. This sauce is a nutritional powerhouse; with anti-inflammatory garlic, anchovies, and olive oil, probiotic, pickled caper berries and gherkins, plus the antioxidant benefit of fresh herbs. If it weren't so potent, salsa verde might be a good addition to your green smoothie. On second thought, don't try that one at home.

Basic Salsa Verde

2 cloves of garlic

3 cornichons

3 anchovy filets

1 tblsp capers, drained

2 tsp dijon mustard

3 tsp red wine vinegar

handful of mint

handful of parsley

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add the fresh herbs then blend again while streaming the olive oil into the top of the processor to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup.

I never measure ingredients when I make this. Feel free to add more of this or less of that until it tastes right and has the desired consistency.


Doug Barnard said...

Tried making this before but couldn't get the food texture quite right. This recipe worked perfect, thanks!

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