Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Not sure what it is, or why, but I can never seem to get enough green in my food.

I go through phases with ingredients (or entire cuisines) where I can’t come out of a grocery store without a certain thing.  I’ve been through avocado, poblano, blueberry, mushroom, kale, cauliflower.  There was the year or so I couldn’t stop cooking Indian-type flavors.

But the one thing I’m starting to think I’ll never grow out of is my yen — my need — for green things.

Red flavors?  Meh.  You can have your roasted red peppers, your cooked carrots, your marinara.  It’s all too sweet.  Gimme that green.  Talmbout parsley, arugula, asparagus, chard, broccoli, scallion.  If it’s got chlorophyll, I’m probably into it.

I spotted this beast of a sandwich on the delightful Lady and Pups, and I was super into it, even though I’d never peg myself for being into a Dagwood-type sandwich.  But come on: avocado, green sauce, sage pork?  It looks awesome, right?

We happened to be heading to a friend’s house for some cooking and Good Times (yay wine), and this looked promising.  A little deconstruction to make it gluten-free-friendly, and we were set.

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Overall, I was pleased, but that sauce!  Man, that sauce is a keeper.  It’s green from here to next week, but it’s also got enough anchovy in it to keep things interesting (yes it has a fair amount of anchovy and no you should not decrease it).

I made the sauce again a few days later, and tossed it with some roasted eggplant and sliced scallions.  Served it over quinoa, because protein.  The second time, I forgot to get capers, and please know that the capers are not optional.  It needs ’em.

green sauce with arugula & parsley


Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Adapted from Lady and Pups

This stuff is spicy, green, and deep. Don't muck about with the recipe too much. Yes, your herbs must all be fresh. Don't bring any of that dried stuff to the party.

No one's gonna tell on you if you don't weigh your ingredients, but how are you cooking without a gram scale?


  • 30 grams parsley leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 30 grams baby arugula (about 1 cup)
  • 5 grams mint leaves (about 1/4 cup)
  • 5 grams oregano leaves (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped green chili of choice (I used Serrano)
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained (no need to rinse)
  • A few healthy grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • A 4-second pour of nice extra virgin olive oil, more or less


1. Pick the parsley, mint, and oregano from their stems (which are bitter and will only make you sad).

2. Cram all the herbs and the arugula into a li'l food processor (your big one is too big for this job, and will only make you sad).

3. Add the remaining ingredients, and give it all a whazz.

4. Scrape the sides as needed, and taste when it's all gotten pretty well mixed together. Does it need salt or maybe a squeeze of lemon? Add that. Want a thinner sauce? Add more olive oil.

5. Enjoy on darn near anything.

Salsa Verde

in situ

This sauce is something I mentioned in passing ages ago, but I assume nobody took much notice of it then.  And honestly, I almost forgot about it myself.

Flipping through my omnibus notebook now and then, I’d notice the quickly scribbled recipe – a vague list of ingredients, really – and remember how good it was.  I’d then remind myself that I should really collect the recipe gems out of that notebook at some point (which I will probably never do).  And then I’d proceed to go about my day, tra la la, recipes forgotten and languishing.

sauté some red cabbage with red onion and salsa verde

But in the span of the last week or so, I somehow managed to accumulate an embarrassment of herbs: basil, chives, dill, thyme, mint, and four (four!) bunches of parsley.  Clearly, some sort of fridge-cleaning pesto was in order.  And lucky me, I had just seen that salsa verde “recipe” again.

sear some gulf shrimp
after peeling: ghost shrimp

Originally inspired by the brilliance that is Ideas In Food, it’s an Italian-style salsa verde, parsley-forward, thickened with bread and spiked with vinegar, and not a lick of olive oil.  The result is a bright, punchy sauce that goes fantastically with eggs, grains, vegetables, and just about everything else I’ve slathered it on.

mix them together

I suppose you could throw in some olive oil if you really had your heart set on it, but the beauty of this sauce is its crisp freshness.  Oil, I think, would weigh it down, deaden the clean flavors.  Fat carries flavor, yes; but sometimes flavor is already there in abundance and needs no outside help.

add one of these

This is one of those play-it-by-ear recipes. This may terrify you, or excite you. I am in the latter camp. Measurements are all approximate, based on what I used, which was based on what was kicking around in my fridge.  Use whatever you have, or whatever you like.  It’s your sauce.

salsa verde on top before serving

Salsa Verde

Inspired by Ideas In Food

For the fresh herbs, I used: 1 large bunch parsley (picked from the stems, please), 1/3 cup mint, 10-15 chives, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, and 1 tablespoon dill. And I deeply regretted that I didn't have any cilantro. I understand salsa verde is traditionally made with mostly parsley, but let's not stand on ceremony.

Me, I like this sauce with a pretty decent heat level, provided here by half a marzano chile. Remember, every chile is different, and you can't remove it once too much has been added in. Start with a little, and add more as you like.

If you don't have panko, use slices of whatever bread tastes good (crusts removed). I always have panko, and would rather use my bread to accompany dinner instead of using it as an ingredient.


  • 1/3 cup panko, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • About 3 cups mixed fresh herbs, loosely packed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Fresh chile to taste, chopped
  • 1-3 anchovy fillets, to taste
  • About 1/4 cup water, or as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Mix 1/3 cup panko with the apple cider and sherry vinegars. Stir in enough water (2-4 tablespoons) to make a slightly-thick paste. Set aside.

2. In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle), purée the herbs with the scallions, garlic, chile, and anchovy. Scrape down the sides of the processor workbowl.

3. Add about half of the vinegar-panko goo, and 2 tablespoons of water. Purée again briefly, and check the consistency. If you'd like it thinner, add more water. If you'd like it thicker, add more panko (vinegared, or plain). Season with a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper.

4. Give it another whizz, then taste. The vinegar flavor should be very present, but not overwhelming. Correct the seasoning as needed with more vinegar-panko goo, chile, salt, and/or pepper. Thin as needed with more water, or thicken with more panko. Add some more herbs if you need to. It'll taste okay at this point, but you should really let it stand at least 1 hour at room temperature before using. Store in the refrigerator with a little olive oil drizzled on top to help keep the color fresh and green (or use it all up in a few days, like I do).

Hot Sauce

If I may be accused of food snobbery, it is specifically in regards to one item: hot wings.  And really, there’s no good reason for it.  I am not one to shy away from butter-laden sauces, such as the hot sauce-infused one integral to the hot wing experience; and if you’ve ever seen me around a bottle of Tabasco or Sriracha, you know that’s not part of the issue either.  The wing is even my favorite part of the chicken; the invariably crisp skin, the middle joint with its silken flesh that always slides seductively from the bones (no matter how dry the rest of the bird), the miniature drumstick with its pleasingly small portion of meat.  Add the three together – butter, hot sauce, crisp chicken wing – and the result should be enough to win my heart for life.

But alas, for me there are simply old prejudices associated with that particular food.  I went to college in Alabama, you see, and have firmly connected the stuff with noisy hordes of young men and women, dressed in too-large T-shirts emblazoned with Greek letters, each indistinguishable from the next, all drunk on whatever was cheapest, shouting, “Oh my gawd, y’all, let’s go get hot wings!”

It would be enough even to turn me off Côtes du Rhône.

Understanding, however, that though they may be anathema to me, hot wings are nevertheless widely beloved and often served at Super Bowl parties nationwide.  So in the interest of bringing a little dignity to this food, I offer you a recipe for homemade hot sauce.  The chicken and the butter, I figure you can manage on your own, and there’s really not much else to it.

This hot sauce starts with dried piquin chilies, tiny little things that pack a surprising amount of heat.  This is about 1/2 ounce, or approximately enough to make your head explode.

I used half of this in the actual hot sauce, but found myself wishing that I had used the entire amount; the end result had a pleasant and slight burn on the finish, but the overall sauce was more condiment than powerful accessory to be used with utmost caution.  I typically prefer the latter; if you like the former, this is right up your alley.

Having said that, though, the mild nature of this hot sauce makes it ideal for hot wings.  You don’t exactly want to melt your face off with an entrée, so a milder sauce is perfect here.  For a more fresh and vibrant tone, I’ve added fresh peppers, three serranos, one jalapeño, and one Cubanelle.  The base of the sauce is a can of crushed tomatoes, while Worcestershire sauce and Asian fish sauce provide a robust depth that mimics the rich flavor of a long-fermented batch of chili peppers (as is often used in commercial hot sauces).

It might seem like there are too many chilies used, but I can assure you that the result is rather mild.  And besides, it’s called “hot sauce”, not “spicy tomato sauce”.  I’m sure you’re asking yourself if it’s really worth it, when there are about 10 million different hot sauces on the market.  Why bother?

Well, darlin’, if you’re anything like me, making your own hot sauce is just about the only way to elevate the basic hot wing, from its base reputation as 2 am post-keg-party fodder, to sophisticated and refined hors d’oeuvre.  Call me a snob, but that’s reason enough for me.

Hot Sauce
Adapted from White On Rice Couple
Makes about 3 cups


  • 1/4 ounce dried piquin chilies, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 fresh cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 3 fresh serrano peppers, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 three-fingered pinch salt


  1. 1.  Soak the dried piquin chilies in the boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften.  Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.  When softened, drain and chop finely (wearing rubber gloves).
  2. 2.  Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots.  Cook until just fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.  Do not let them brown.  Add the tomatoes, fresh peppers, bay leaf, and about 1/2 cup water.  Simmer over low heat until the peppers soften, about 30 minutes.  Add more water as needed to keep the mixture from thickening or drying out.
  3. 3.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the rice vinegar, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and salt.  Let stand until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf.
  4. 4.  Blend mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding extra water as needed to thin to desired consistency.  Strain if needed.  Store in refrigerator.


1.  Always wear rubber gloves when dealing with very hot chilies, such as piquin.  Thoroughly wash hands and all items that have come into contact with them.  Even with all this, avoid touching eyes for the rest of the day.

2.  If you like, you can add the stems of the fresh peppers to the mixture as it simmers (in step 2), to bring a slightly floral quality.  Remove with the bay leaf before puréeing.