If you love vegetables (and herbs) and/or you have a CSA or shop at the farmers’ market or have a vegetable garden, chances are you have pangs of guilt or sadness when you’re getting ready to leave town for the weekend and there’s beautiful produce in your fridge that may or may not last until you get back.
Over the last few years I’ve found myself making herb sauces, pestos and ratatouille before I leave town in late summer. Whether you’re going camping, staying with friends or booking a room somewhere, these things all travel well and improve anything they touch and are good at room temperature. They also are just delicious and need nothing but crackers to be consumed–as I recently did at a soccer tournament in a hotel lobby. Fellow soccer parents were thrilled with the spread!
I realize most folks are probably not in the habit of cooking right before leaving town but it may turn into something you do. Coming home to rotting vegetables/herbs is no fun and enjoying the fruits of that extra time spent before heading out may just be worth it.
I just made this sauce and it’s going to Walla Walla with us later today and it will grace the sandwich I pack for myself for the road.
There are many variations for this herby sauce that improves anything it touches. It is a bit richer and more complex the than Italian-style salsa verde I make frequently. I particularly like this herb combination (parsley, tarragon, dill) but play around with different ratios and herb combinations including basil and mint, if you’d like. The above version employed cilantro, parsley and dill.
You can chop everything by hand (as I did above) or process in a food processor, it will be saucier/looser if you process and I kept the above version a bit drier (less oil) so I could use it as a sandwich spread as well. I usually use the processor but my knives had just been sharpened and it was a joy to chop all those herbs!
This makes a lot of sauce but I doubt you’ll have trouble finding ways to use it. It is particularly good with poached, baked or roasted fish, boiled potatoes and/or carrots, turnips, summer and winter squash, etc.
1 good-sized bunch parsley, washed and stems cut off where the leaves begin
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1 good-sized bunch dill, picked and tough stems discarded
2 green onions, chopped (or 2 tablespoons regular onion or shallot)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
3 anchovy filets
2 hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites divided
Juice of 1 1/2 – 2 lemons (to taste)
1/2 cup or more olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
In a small bowl crumble or mash up the eggs yolks a bit and finely chop the whites. Process (or chop by hand) the herbs, onions, capers, and anchovies and yolks in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and start adding the oil through the feeding tube and process briefly.
Taste and add salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Add lemon juice or oil to taste and to create a fairly loose sauce. I like my sauce quite lemony. Finally put the sauce in a bowl and stir in the chopped, cooked egg whites.
Parsley root is a variety of parsley grown for its large tap root. The leaves are very flavorful, sometimes even more so than regular parsley so use them just the way you would parsley. The root may look like a parsnip but tastes more like a carrot crossed with celery root and is not as sweet as a parsnip. It is delicious roasted, in a hash or in soups and stews and really anywhere you would use other root vegetables.Use the leaves in the Italian parsley sauce Salsa Verde or in this Green Sauce with other herbs. Ingredients that are particularly good with parsley root:
- Garlic, onions
- Lemon juice & zest
- Capers, Anchovies (in Salsa Verde)
- Boiled meats
- Fish, shell fish
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Cheeses of many kinds
- Yogurt, butter, cream
- Grilled meats
- Celery, carrots, celery root, parsnips
Thanksgiving is upon us. I have done little thinking about the food for the meal. As I’m sure many of you are, I’ve been thinking about the tragedies and injustices near and far. My heart aches for the millions who have nowhere safe to be, whether fleeing their home country or homeless on the streets of my hometown.
I will get to celebrate and enjoy a meal in a warm cozy house surrounded by family and loved ones. I count my blessings daily. And I think I’ll keep my culinary contributions simple and will support a couple of organizations (here in Portland, OR) who help provide comfort, stability and warmth to those who have the least, such as Streets Roots and Sisters of the Road!
Winter Squash with Parsley Sauce
Warm, sweet, roasted squash with a cool, lemony parsley sauce is an easy and beautiful dish.
Roast winter squash in a hot oven, 425 – 450 degrees. Roast however much peeled, seeded squash you’d like. I like bite-sized chunks or wedges.
Make salsa verde (just a mixture of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt) and top the squash with plenty of salsa.