Last month I made an Italian-style salsa verde using the season’s first field-grown local arugula (rocket) and described it on line in my Washington Post “Cooking Off the Cuff” column.
Last night, after that non-Chinese non-scallion scallion pancake, we had plain pan-fried fish - and peas, which continue to appear in our local farmers’ market. As a condiment, I made a similar salsa verde, but with a great market find: celery leaves. “Cutting celery” is a variety grown specifically for its leaves rather than its stalks. It is very powerful stuff on its own – the flavor of even a single leaf can be pretty mouth-filling, and not in an especially pleasant way. But food-processed into salsa verde it was excellent and aromatic. Even with all the anchovies and cornichons and capers and garlic and mustard and lemon juice and olive oil, its herby celery flavor sang through. Distinctive, and a great success. Surprisingly, it was very wine-friendly, perhaps more so than classic versions of this green sauce.
As other flavorful greens come my way in the course of the summer, I’ll be trying new variations. If any are worth mentioning, I’ll not fail to provide an update.