I would like to write a love song entitled “Five-Minute Sauces That Make it a Meal.” “It” being whatever else you have to put on the table. Whether it’s a salsa or a savory mayonnaise, a compound butter or a pesto, the key components of a great sauce are flavor, flavor, and flavor. And the results are worth singing about.
This Italian parsley sauce delivers. The basic recipe combines parsley, capers, lemon, a shallot, and garlic. Maybe (hopefully) an anchovy. You can vary it a million ways: give it body with day-old bread, add other soft herbs, swap red onion for the shallot and garlic, spice it up with chile peppers, add nuts or vinegar or fancy pickles. Reduce the oil or leave it out altogether (in which case you’ll have more of a sprinkle than a sauce). Whatever ingredients you choose, chop them up and smooth it all together in a slick of olive oil. Serve over anything.We often make this sauce when we grill fish or vegetables, but I hear that it also complements meat nicely. Drizzle it over steamed potatoes. Dunk a crusty chunk of bread in it. Whatever you do with it in the end, it will be worth the five minutes it takes to make.
Rustic Italian Parsley Salsa Verde (adapted from Alice Waters’ In the Green Kitchen): Finely chop a nice big handful of parsley (about 1/2 c.). Pound a clove of garlic and 1 Tbsp. rinsed capers to a paste with 2 anchovies (optional). Stir in a minced shallot, the zest of a lemon, the chopped parsley, and 1/2 c. olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the flavors to blend for half an hour, then taste and adjust seasonings before serving.