Time for some more recipes here at Southern Ash. I’ve been slacking and I can only use the wedding excuse for so long. Today, I want to talk to you about salsa verde, with the grilled swordfish as a vehicle for this wonderful condimento. We are talking about the Italian salsa verde, not the tomatillo and Serrano pepper based Mexican salsa. Gremolata is the most famous famous of the salsa verde clan consisting solely of parsley, garlic, and lemon. Think about this more like an Argentinian chimichurri serving as a vehicle for fresh herbs and deep flavors to be added to nearly any dish.
The salsa verde begins with a handful or two of fresh herbs. I almost always have parsley and will use basil, mint, or even some sage. This is about what you have available. Put your herbs on the cutting board or in a mortar. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on them and chop for a few minutes. I used a very generous handful of parsley to start.
Now we add depth of flavor – get a clove of garlic and an anchovy. Smash the garlic and add both to the herbs and do another rough chop.
Balance this with citrus for sharpness and clarity of flavor by adding the zest of half a lemon and mixing it together. I will usually add a squeeze if lemon juice as well. finally, stir in just enough olive oil to make the entire mixture moist. It shouldn’t take a lot because if the water content of the herbs, the anchovy, and the oils in the lemon zest.
Stir and set aside for the flavors to come together. The olive oil helps to create a unified flavor profile and smooths out some of the rough edges.
This can top anything but does wonders with proteins. It works magic with stronger fish, like swordfish. Swordfish can have more mercury content than other fishes so if you or your special lady friend is expecting, use a different protein. I like to marinade my swordfish for 30 minutes to an hour. All this is really doing is adding some flavor to the outer layers and tenderizing the exposed meat making it easier to sear. I use olive oil, citrus, and herbs. Since I am making salsa verde, I usually use some of the same herbs going into the salsa and the juice from the zest end lemon half in the marinade. The marinating time for the fish and the time for the salsa overlap nicely.
Once marinated, I fire up the grill or preheat the grill pan over medium high heat. Swordfish is substantial and can take higher heat, not unlike a beef steak or pork chop. It goes down for 3-4 minutes before rotating to ensure beautiful grill marks.
After another 3-4 minutes, I flip and repeat. This makes it as 12-16 minutes total cook time depending on the heat and thickness of the swordfish. I take it off to let it rest, top with salsa verde, and serve.
The salsa verde adds its own intense flavors of herbs but it also acts to enhance the flavors of what you have topped like a pinch of salt enhancing the flavor of chocolate.
The salsa verde tops grass fed beef well. because grass fed beef has less fat, you have to cook it to a lower temperature and be careful not to dry it out. The sweetness of a medium rare steak topped with e salsa verde is a special meal indeed.
Need a vegetarian option? Stir your salsa verde into a serving if rice or other grains for a quick herbaceous dish.
Hopefully you’ll take a handful of herbs you have left over and make a quick salsa verde for your next dinner.