Special Green Sauce to the Rescue
No time to cook? My solution to last minute, uninspired meals is Special Green Sauce. With a bright, fresh herbal crunch, mellow garlic undertones and a kick of chile, this versatile sauce will wake up the most boring foods. Scrambled eggs or breakfast tacos are transformed with a dollop of Special Green Sauce. Cooked pasta tossed with Special Green Sauce and chopped tomatoes makes an easy and impressive dinner. Stir Special Green Sauce into a pot of black beans and you will never eat them plain again.
Special Green Sauce is my version of a recipe that I found in More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. Over the years I have adjusted the ingredients to make it healthier and streamlined the preparation. I use this recipe as a guideline and frequently improvise new versions depending what is in the garden or refrigerator. I’ve substituted both arugula and baby spinach for the parsley and each batch was still yummy. Adjust the chiles to ratchet up the heat and make this sauce your own.
No Food Processor? No Problem!
I enjoy the coarse texture and ease of green sauce pulsed in a food processor, but this sauce can be made without a food processor. A cutting board and knife is all you really need to finely chop the ingredients before stirring in the seasonings and oil. For a smooth, blended sauce, try using an immersion or traditional blender.
Green Sauce is Nothing New
Every culture has their own version – the Italians have pesto, in Argentina, they eat chimichurri– but in our household, we make Special Green Sauce. Give it a try!
Do you have a go-to green sauce? Leave a comment and let me know what ingredients you like in your favorite green sauce.
- 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 2-3 serrano or jalapeno chiles
- 2 cups loosely packed cilantro (about 1 bunch)
- 2 cups loosely packed Italian/flat-leaf parsley (about 1 bunch)
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place garlic cloves and chiles in a dry 10-inch skillet and cook over medium heat. Gently toast the cloves and chiles until cloves are softened and the skin of the chiles blisters. Use tongs to turn items while cooking. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Remove the papery skin from the garlic. Cut off the stem and remove the seeds from the chiles; cut them in ½-pieces.
Wash and spin-dry cilantro and parsley. It’s okay to keep tender stems, but remove any thick or woody stems.
Place garlic and chilies in a food processor and pulse until rice-sized. Add cilantro and parsley and continue to pulse into a chunky mixture of uniform texture.
Add salt and oil, then pulse a few more times until the mixture is a course sauce. Be careful not to over-process at this stage or the olive oil will become bitter.
This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of sauce and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The olive oil will firm up once it's chilled, so bring it to room temperature before serving or spoon it onto warm foods like pasta or eggs.