Thursday, July 21, 2011

Salsa Verde with Basil, Cilantro and Mint from Deborah Madison

Salsa Verde with Cilantro, Basil, and Mint
I don’t know about you, but we relish condiments at our house.

At times, the refrigerator seems to overflow with jams, jellies, salsas and sauces. Many are homemade, others are store-bought or gifts from friends.

There’s the jar of my mother’s fig preserves that are used only when we have biscuits and eggs for breakfast, or when I want to serve them with a cheese course. Fig preserves are too precious to slap between bread with peanut butter. For that, we use other something else, such as strawberry jam.

Maybe an overabundance of condiments isn’t a problem for you? You must be the disciplined sort who only opens a new jar of jelly when the other one is finished.

I didn’t think so.

One condiment that I really enjoy is Deborah Madison’s salsa verde with basil, cilantro and mint. The recipe is featured in Local Flavors, a celebration of farmers markets around the country. This is one of my very favorite cookbooks of all time, an essential for any cook who loves local, seasonal foods.

There’s no better time to make this recipe because fresh cilantro, basil and mint are in ample supply at markets and home gardens.

This amiable trio of herbs complements a variety of regional and ethnic cuisines — Southwestern, Mexican, Mediterranean, Thai and Indian. Think subtropical flavors and you can’t go wrong. I served it with grilled masala chicken thighs for the photo shoot.

At parties, I like to place the salsa alongside a bowl of egg salad or drizzle a tiny spoonful over stuffed eggs. The vivid green color is a fairly dazzling accent.

Other ways to use it:

• In a quesadilla with fresh chèvre and corn tortillas
• Drizzled over sliced tomatoes
• With lamb chops or in a hamburger


Salsa Verde with Basil, Cilantro, and Mint
adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

1 jalapeno, seeded
1 large bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/2 c basil leaves
1/4 c mint leaves
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 c plus 2 T olive oil
1/4 c water
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
sea salt

Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until fine. Add water, oil and lime zest and juice. Salt to taste. Store in the refrigerator.

Grilled Masala Chicken Thighs
Lisa’s Recipe

2 T olive oil
1 T fresh lime juice or apple cider vinegar
2 T garam masala (Use your favorite. I like the one from Frontier.)
salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Whisk the oil, lime juice and spices in a glass bowl. Add the chicken, and turn to make sure it is coated well with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub a cast iron grill pan with cooking oil. (I used extra virgin coconut oil.) Heat the pan on medium high, then add the chicken. Sear both sides of the chicken, then place in the oven to finish cooking (about 15 minutes).

Serve with salsa verde.

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