Friday, June 11, 2010

Simple Raw Green Sauce

This is about as primitive as it gets. Take some garlic, capers, anchovy, and parsley, and smash it up in a molcajete, or other mortar and pestle type grinding device. Add a little oil and vinegar, possibly a pinch of salt and pepper, and you have maybe the world's greatest grilled meat condiment.

The sharpness of the sauce, and the brightness of the flavors makes for a perfect marriage with the smoky meat and its subtly bitter grill marks. As I say in the video, the secret here isn't the ingredients, as you can really use any kind of green herbs you want, but it's the grinding and smashing.

Certain things happen to hand-ground food that just don't occur in a food processor. You can check a site like Cooking for Engineers for the scientific reason, but tasting is believing.

By the way, these little molcajetes make for a great gift. I should know – I was given this one at the Hotel Valencia on my recent trip with the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau.

So remember, it's a long grilling season, and you're going to need to switch things up now and again. When you do, this simple, raw, green sauce will not disappoint. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (warning: I guessed at these amounts, as this is not a recipe that requires precise measurements – do everything "to taste")
2 large cloves garlic
pinch of salt
2 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup packed Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or any vinegar or lemon juice)
2 tablespoon olive oil


Steve said...

Chef: This looks marvelous and I'm definitely going to try it out.

One question: why not use a metal spoon in the molcajete? What happens? Or did I miss a joke here?

Arudhi said...

oh my God, this sauce reminds me of Indonesian "Sambal Ijo (Hijau)" which literally means green sambal (chili sauce). Sambal ijo basically use garlic, shallot, green chilli, and oil. I think that makes the difference between sambal and green sauce because sambal has a very strong hot taste from the chili.

Chris K. said...

"It's a one-hitter." Really? I'm rather surprised you went there, Chef.

I like this technique for soup au pistou. Sure, you can just whip it all together in a food processor, but if you wanna put the piste in your pistou, well... there really isn't a substitute.

The same goes for aioli. Take your time. Put on some soft music. Talk to it, gently. Feel the burn in your forearms, and realize that you are not just grinding away at aromatic vegetable matter. The act is transformative. You are making love, in an edible form.

On the surface it may seem such a trivial thing, but invest yourself in the process, and the reward will be transcendent.

Chef John said...

some phrases pop up from days long since past :-)

Carolyn™ said...

I am definitely going to have this on my BBQ steak tomorrow but I am worried it might be addictive :)

Anonymous said...

"This is like a one-hitter."

I love this no-holds-blog.

A Human said...

I love your videos, but it's "SALSA," not "SALZA."

Anonymous said...

do you know where to find a molcajete in or around Boston but NOT on the intenet

Chef John said...

not sure, check any Latin neighborhood, shouldn't be hard.

Suzanne said...

This salsa looks really good -- I love the flavor of capers with meat dishes!

Lizzie said...

Making this by hand rather than in a food processor is akin to the difference between country-air dried sheets
and sheets dried in a dryer. All the difference in the world.

Tina said...

The sharpness of the sauce, and the brightness of the flavors makes it great for the smoky meat and its subtly bitter grill marks.

Hilaridad said...

Hi Chef John :-) I've only just found your site and I love it! This Mango Crambango sounds delicious - I'll make it just for the name but I'm going to have to find out what Ghost Pepper Sauce is. I live in England and I don't think we've heard about Ghost Peppers yet, but I could be mistaken :-)) Thanks for all your recipes. I've just bought myself a molcajete and I'm going to make your lovely salsa verde. Cheers, Hilary x

Hilaridad said...

Hi Chef John :-) I've just come across your site and I love it! This Salsa Verde sounds wonderful and I've just bought myself a molcajete to make it in. Thanks so much for your informative and amusing posts. I think I will be a regular visitor to your site :-))

Hilaridad said...

This sounds really, really good - I'll bet it will be beautiful with roast leg of lamb! I'm going to have to do some research on Ghost Pepper Sauce as I live in England and I don't think we know about Ghost Peppers yet! Maybe Tabasco Sauce would be an alternative if I can't find Ghost Pepper Sauce - that's a hot one, too.