Top 5 – Sauces made with herbs

Many of my herbs are starting their Spring growth.  The dill & basil have both recently germinated, the tarragon has reappeared and my mint is looking much happier.   Even the coriander is growing well.   Of course all this comes at the price of some bolting parsley and chervil but frankly you can’t have everything.  To celebrate all herby enthusiasm I thought I dedicate this weeks posts to the best sauces you can make with them.

Potato Salad with Smoked Trout & Salsa Verde dressing

Salsa Verde – I thought the first sauce I mentioned should be a sauce that uses a combination of herbs.  Salsa Verde combines a mixture of soft herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley, mint, chervil, coriander, basil, oregano – whatever you enjoy basically) with olives, capers and anchovies to produce a simply delicious sauce.  I love salsa verde, especially with fish but also goes well with potatoes.  Alternatively you can have it with both fish and potatoes in a salad like the one pictured.

Pesto – Although you can make pesto out of loads of different herbs it is basil pesto that I look forward to the most.  The combination of basil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan makes for one classic sauce.

Mint Sauce – Now I don’t eat a lot of lamb so I’m not talking about your classic mint sauce here, although I’m sure that does have its devotees.  Instead I am talking about a sweetened mint syrup used to pour over fruit salad or add to cocktails – sugary and refreshing – a lovely summery combination.

Parsley Sauce – When I was little, very little, about 18 months old I think, I had some digestive problems and the doctor recommended putting me on a diet of tripe.  For I don’t know how long my main meal of the day was tripe with parsley sauce.  The parsley sauce habit has stuck – I use parsley sauce as a base for things like pie fillings – the tripe habit less so.  In fact I can’t remember the last time I ate tripe and frankly I have little desire to renew my acquaintance with it.

Coriander Chutney – I am a huge fan of the fresh chutney’s of India.  My two favourites being quite similar: mint chutney and coriander chutney.  Both are made by mincing mint or coriander leaves with a combination of spring onions, lemon or lime juice, salt, chilli, a touch of sugar and garlic.  Lovely to dip samosas, poppadoms or pakoras in.

For more Top 5 fun head over to The New Goodlife for this weeks installment.

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20 Responses to Top 5 – Sauces made with herbs

  1. Jo says:

    My favourite sauce has to be mint sauce. I don’t just eat it with lamb, I put it on any meat, delish.

  2. Sarah says:

    Coriander chutney sounds good, the combination of lime juice, chilli and coriander is one of my favourites. Now that the evenings are getting cooler here, I’ve been making Sicilian pesto with mint, tomatoes and almonds – it somehow seems more suited to autumn than basil pesto.

    • Liz says:

      Now I want my tomatoes to hurry up and grow so I can make that pesto – sounds great. I have heaps of mint at the moment but shop tomatoes are ridiculously expensive at the moment and its a while til our season starts – I shall be patient…

  3. You know I can’t even think of any herb sauces I make. Apart from pesto. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  4. Frogdancer says:

    Finally adapted the watercress soup recipe to the thermomix. Liked it so much I posted it onto the forum! I’ll give you the link so you can see how it compares. I think the taste of mine would differ slightly because the veggie stock paste we make contains garlic and lots of different herbs. It was delish, though!

    Thanks so much.

    • Liz says:

      No worries at all and I’m really glad you enjoyed it! I’ll have to try making some of your veggie stock paste – sounds like a great idea.

  5. Nina says:

    Love the parsley hanging out to dry! Have you tried putting some seeded mustard into parsley sauce? Nice!

    • Liz says:

      Yes to dijon but no to seeded – purely because I tend to have Dijon to hand more frequently. Having said that I haven’t tried it recently but now I want to taste it immediately! On a another topic mum made your lime chutney recipe this week and she is very very excited about it so thankyou!

      • Nina says:

        I love dijon, it’s my all-round favourite, but I usually have a range of mustards on hand ‘just in case’.

        I’m excited that she’s excited! I was having some last night (last year’s batch) with cheese and bickies and it was still good despite being open in the fridge for a looong time.

        I’ve got a bit of a queue for the 18 (!!!) jars I have left over from the last lot. I’ll keep a couple and the rest will be free to a good home. 🙂

  6. Great primer on ways to use herbs as more than garnish! Salsa Verde is a summer staple here, excellent with all manner of grilled food, meat and vegetables included. I used to be reluctant to serve it to guests because of the anchovies, but have discovered not to second guess them as it uncovers the secret anchovy lovers among them, and has made some converts along the way.

    • Liz says:

      I’m not sure that you can discern the anchovies in themselves unless you are looking for them, or perhaps I don’t use enough…. You are kinder to your guests than I am – I have a tendency to cook first think of peoples likes and dislikes later, which can make for some awkward moments.

  7. Daphne says:

    My summer favorite is a yogurt and dill dip. I guess it really isn’t a sauce, but a dip. It is almost tzatziki but without the cucumbers (since most of the time I don’t have cukes).

    • Liz says:

      I really enjoy yoghurt and dill as a flavour combination – nice thought – I do think its hard to know where sauce ends and dip starts, especially as I use tzatziki as a saucer in chicken kebabs quite often anyway.

  8. Louise says:

    Love your parsley sauce and the coriander chutney – I must make those. One of my favourites is definitely salsa verde.

  9. I was put off pesto by being served a very oily version. Do you add oil to your pesto?

    • Liz says:

      Yeah I do – you need to add it to reach a sauce type consistency. Having said that you could also over add it and it sounds like perhaps you had one of those. Equally I quite like pasta dressed just in olive oil and some parmesan so don’t mind oily pesto either.

  10. Balvinder says:

    I was reading your old emails posts and was curious to know more about tripe. What is it?
    My family enjoys all these herb sauces and coincidentally I made one with parsley yesterday.

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