Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tonight's Meal

So, I was talking with a friend of mine this afternoon. He was in a rut. Was bored with all of his recipes and all of the things that he likes to make; he’s a good cook on top of it, too.

It was a Monday afternoon, after all, at the bar.

He said, “I really don’t feel like doing anything for supper and I’m bored. I’m tired of all of the same ingredients.”

After taking a medicinal slurp of his Guinness he said, “I’m only going to Zabar’s. I’m not going shopping. I need advice.”

I looked up from my crossword puzzle, and took a slug of my whiskey, “Well, here are some options.” And thought for a moment.

“Coconut Shrimp?” I said.

“I made Thai last night.”

“Butterflied barbecue chicken?”, I countered.

“Too much work.”

“Chicken thighs?”

“Do they even sell them there? I know they have whole birds”

“There’s always the pre-made stuff, you know, like chicken cutlets Milanese which you can toss over a baby arugula salad?”

“They’re too salty.”

“True.” I said, “But, in a pinch, they’re good for a picnic.”

I took another taste of Old Thought Provoker and said, “Salsa Verde?”

“Don’t you need Tomatillos for that?”

“Nope. Chimichurri style with some simple roasted potatoes and whatever type of chicken parts you are in the mood for. Thirty minutes soup to nuts.”

“Done.” he said.

“Personally I would butterfly the chicken, but that’s just me”

“Time to polish this off, and get out of here. I’ve got Salsa to make.” he said as he downed his pint.

I returned to 35 Down, what's a five letter Yiddish word for bed-bug??

Recipe after the jump...

Salsa Verde - A Version
This is only one variation for “green sauce”, that’s what “salsa verde” means in Spanish for those not so continental. You can easily make a hundred different kinds of “salsa verde” merely by varying the ingredients to suit your tastes.

This is your call.

A Sharp Knife
A Cutting Board
A Food Processor or Blender (partially OPTIONAL)

A bunch of Fresh Parsley
A bunch of Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
Four (4) cloves of fresh Garlic
One (1) Shallot
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oyl
Sambal (Thai Chili Garlic Paste) or any other kind of Hot Sauce
Ground Cumin
Dried Oregano
Fresh ground Black Pepper
Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt
Dry Sherry or Brandy or Cognac (OPTIONAL)

Peel and chop in half the Garlic cloves and the Shallot and add them to the bowl of a Food Processor. Tear off about half of the bunch of Parsley and discard any large stems. You want about a full cup of Parsley leaves; there’s no reason to be exact with this, a little more never hurt anyone. Add the Parsley leaves to the Food Processor. Do the same with the Cilantro and add about a quarter (1/4) cup of the Cilantro leaves. Add about 3/4 teaspoon of Sambal, 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt, and a few good grinds of Black Pepper. Close up the processor and give it a buzz. Scrape the sides with a convenient spoon, and add about 1/3 cup of Red Wine Vinegar and an optional splash of Dry Sherry, Brandy, or Cognac. The alcohol is completely optional here, but lends a nice sweetness to a very potent mixture; the choice is yours. Close up the processor, and give it a whir. Scrape the sides of the processor and close it up again. Take about 1/2 a cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oyl and pulse it into the mixture, keeping an eye on the texture of the salsa. I like mine slightly rustic and rough, but you may prefer yours smoother. Keep pulsing and scraping the sides of the processor bowl until you get the consistency that you like. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning to your heart’s content.

This is great with everything.

No, really. It is.

This works with chicken, fish, meat, bread, raw vegetables, small animals, etc. Personally, my favorite is to serve this as an accompaniment to grilled blade lamb chops; the bold earthy flavour of the lamb and the pungent sauce are a fabulous combination. Also, this is wonderful with shrimp, swordfish, or shark. But honestly, virtually any fish can benefit from some of this sauce, even delicate ones like Dover sole. Mussels, clams, and oysters are a treat with a splash of this sauce, especially on the half-shell, “casino” style. As I mentioned earlier, this sauce can be used as a potent dip for raw veggies and bread at a cocktail party, just make sure that everyone has some due to the large quantity of raw garlic. Cooked vegetables are great with this sauce as well. Steamed green beans, asparagus, and broccoli get a wonderful flavour boost when this sauce is around; and, do not neglect the lowly baked potato; no fatty sour crème is needed here. Basically, you can use this salsa on anything including wives, kids, lawn furniture, etc.

This sauce will keep for about one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The brightness of the Parsley and the Cilantro begin to break down after a few days due to the amount of vinegar in the sauce and becomes a bit bland; but, if it actually lasts a week, you are a more restrained man than I am.

NOTE - If you do not have a food processor or a blender, you can easily do this the “old fashioned” way with a good sharp knife and some patience. Simply, take your time and very finely chop all of the raw ingredients into a large bowl. Add all of the liquids and powders and mix well. Personally, I find that with high-speed machinery, like a food processor, you can go too far and wind up with a green soup instead of a nice rustic sauce. I like to do mine both ways; I’ll do half the batch of raw ingredients by hand and the other half in the processor and then combine the two to get the texture that I want. The same holds true if you’re making a Pesto or any other kind of chunky sauce.

So, just turn up the music and start chopping.

©2010 Wait At The Bar, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great. I will attempt to make it this weekend. You might be getting a phonecall....

    For the crossword - wantz?