Salsa Verde with Shaved Lemon, Almonds, and Parsley
Source: Natalia Bushyager & Leigh Loper, Picnic on 3rd
Recipe Type: Appetizers and Sides | Seasons: Spring, Summer
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on June 10, 2017.
This is a Natalia original: a tricked-out salsa verde with an attention to detail. We take a basic Italian-style salsa verde and add deeply toasted nuts and salted lemon slices for a crunchy, exciting sauce that pairs perfectly with a veggie-forward mixed grill. Think eggplant, zucchini, and/or asparagus.
Makes about 5 cups
1 lemon, sliced in half lengthwise and into paper-thin half moons, seeds removed
1 large or 2 small shallots
1 cup red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Handful of almonds, toasted and chopped (see notes below)
4 cups olive oil
In a small bowl, season the lemons with enough salt that they taste a little too salty to eat on their own. Set aside for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cut the shallots into a small dice and macerate them by tossing with the vinegar in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper.
Combine the parsley and chopped almonds with the olive oil in a medium bowl. The oil will “seal” the cut edges of the parsley and help keep your finished salsa green.
Taste the lemon slices. They should be distinctly less bitter and more pliable. If not, set aside for a few more minutes. You can give them a rinse if they’re too salty.
Add the macerated shallots, vinegar, and salted lemons to the herb/nut mixture. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. The fat from the nuts and olive oil should balance the acid and astringency from the lemons, shallots, and vinegar.
Serve in a small bowl on the side of your grilled vegetables or other main dish.
Notes: How to Toast Like a Boss
- Forget the skillet. Toast in the oven you must, where the heat is even and all-encompassing. Stir them or shake the pan every few minutes to ensure all sides get a nice toasty toast.
- Low and slow. No need to take the oven higher than 300°F. A lower temperature will ensure that the nuts are toasted all the way through, not just on the outside.
- Ditch the clock. Toasting can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes, depending on the oven, the nuts, and the pan. Use your eyes and nose, not the clock. You’re looking for them to be golden brown.
- If you see any that are dark brown, remove them right away. Nuts will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven, so don’t overdo it!
- Rub your nuts. If you’re toasting hazelnuts, wrap the still-warm nuts in a clean dish towel. Give them a rub and watch the bitter skins slip off. Yeah – rub them real nice!
- Chop them right. For salsas in particular, hand chopping is the way to go. A food processor chop leads to tiny fragments, which will make the sauce sludgy and dense. Be careful, because the nuts will sometimes roll and bring your knife with them. Just cut a few at a time, and keep one firm hand on the knife handle and the other on the top edge of the knife. You can make a little barrier with a dish towel so they don’t go rolling everywhere.