As we settle into June, it's time to move into the season of effortless cooking. Or almost effortless anyway. The evenings are warm and inviting. There are walks to take, gardens to weed, lawns to mow, books to read....the last thing we need is to overcomplicate things in the kitchen. Not that we don't want to eat delicious food! This is not a suggestion that we all turn to a steady diet of take out for the summer. What we need are a few tricks up our sleeve, like this sexy little sauce, that make even the most basic meals very NOT basic. Allow me to introduce you to my Nordic Summer Herb Sauce.
I've been playing around with this sauce for weeks. My first version had toasted bread and a good amount of toasted almonds in it. This one was really paste-like and almost like a savory almond butter. Definitely not what I was looking for. I ditched the bread and tried it with fewer almonds. This gave the sauce more of a pesto vibe. It was good, but still not quite what I was after. In the end I ended up with something more akin to Italian salsa verde. Not the tomatillo-based Mexican style salsa for tacos and tortilla chips (also delicious, though), but an olive oil based sauce that is made with chopped fresh parsley, capers, garlic and lemon. Traditionally served on grilled meats (flank steak, I'm looking at you) and vegetables, this sauce is the summertime pick-me-up for just about anything savory. I've added a little dill to give it that Nordic touch, and toasted the garlic to mellow it out slightly. It is otherwise very true to its original Italian form. Some ideas for putting it into action:
- Spoon over grilled steak, chicken or fish
- Use as a condiment for a grilled burger
- Drizzle on grilled or roasted vegetables
- Spoon over freshly sliced tomatoes from the garden
- Drizzle on avocado toast with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Spoon over eggs
- Stir into steamed green beans
- Drizzle over boiled new potatoes
And that's just for starters! The options really are endless, especially with all of those fresh summer vegetables heading our way in the next few weeks. So I'm just going to leave the recipe for this versatile little sauce right here for you when you need it. Our summer meals just got easier, tastier and little more exciting.
Nordic Summer Herb Sauce
- 1 clove of garlic unpeeled
- Zest of ½ of lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- ⅓ cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon capers finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a small skillet or saucepan, place unpeeled garlic clove and toast over medium low until the garlic softens and the peel becomes spotty brown, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once garlic is cool enough to handle, remove peel and mince.
- Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.