Mary Beth Clark

Culinary Educator · Consultant · Author

Salsa Verde, Italian Green Sauce

Salsa Verde

If you have eaten Bologna's famous main dish of assorted boiled meats, Bollito Misto, you've enjoyed its classic accompaniment, Salsa Verde, or Italian Green Sauce. This verdant, thick fresh parsley sauce transforms poached or boiled meats into a delicious, satisfying meal.

Many Italian sauces use fresh herbs as the base then flavor it with capers, anchovies, pine nuts, and garlic. Adding olive oil transforms it into a sauce. I like keeping Salsa Verde on-hand, and sometimes adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes for variation. This recipe shows specific ingredient quantities because I've received many compliments over the years for its savory-tart balance. Change the quantities as you wish. Parsley and capers are very typical giving the sauce a briny-vinegar kick with a lot of green color. Garlic is not emphasized normally, but rather remains a mild undertone. What is important is making Salsa Verde in advance and storing it covered in your refrigerator for at least 2 days before serving so flavors blend.

Stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks, Salsa Verde is ideal as a ready-made sauce spooned over chicken breast, pork or veal scallopine, beef steak, fish filet, or leftover boiled meats and poultry from making broth or stock. Do you like cauliflower? Steam or boil florets then chill. It makes a fine antipasto served with this sauce. Or for a meatless meal, roast an entire head of cauliflower and serve with Salsa Verde. Do you like grilled lamb chops? Nice and juicy with a bit of char along the edges? Add a dollop of Salsa Verde – it's a restaurant meal at home.

Makes 1 cup (237 ml) sauce.

1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley (2/3 cup or 158 ml volume packed leaves)
4 small anchovy filets preserved in oil, rinsed well, remove bones   
4 teaspoons (20 ml volume) capers, rinsed                
4 teaspoons (20 ml volume) pitted green olives, rinsed   
1 teaspoon (5 ml volume) minced pickle or gherkin (non-sweet) or any pickled vegetable   
0.5 ounce (14 g) pine nuts (4 teaspoons or 20 ml volume)                  
0.5 ounce (14 g) plain dry bread crumbs (2 tablespoons or 30 ml volume)
1 large garlic clove, minced (3/4 teaspoon or 3.6 ml volume)
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil                
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

By hand, or using a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, or blender: Finely chop or mince all of the above. Add the white wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil and stir well making a thick paste sauce.

Initial tasting: The vinegar and garlic might be a bit pronounced. Give the sauce two days for flavors to blend and this should be reduced. However, on its own, this sauce is meant to be a bit salty-sharp to contrast mild-tasting meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables. Cover and refrigerate up to two weeks.




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