Salsa verde is a good, quick sauce to have in the repertoire. Not to be confused with anything out of Mexico, salsa verde is from Italy. The piquant, herb-based sauce usually features parsley, capers, and and olive oil. It's easy to prepare from pantry ingredients and reliably good with roasted vegetables and grilled meats; even robust flavors can stand up to this flavorful sauce. But until now, I've never had it with seafood.
Of course, you always trust a recipe from Alice Waters' superb The Art of Simple Food. It makes sense, when you think about it—seared scallops develop a gorgeous, caramelized crust, which gives them a "meaty" quality to pair with the salsa.
Waters' recipe goes heavy on the olive oil, turning it into a loose sauce spiked with garlic, capers, lemon zest, and black pepper. I took her suggestion for adding lemon juice as well, to make it even zestier. In anticipation of coming spring, this is a light and gorgeous meal.
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food.
- 1/3 cup coarsly chopped parsley
- Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice to taste
- 1 fat clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed, and coarsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 pound scallops, dried well and seasoned with salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, capers, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir well to combine and taste for seasoning. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
In the meantime, coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Making sure the scallops are dry, carefully add them in a single layer well-spaced (too close together and they're prone to steam and not develop a good crust). Cook until golden on both sides, 2-3 minutes each side.
Serve the scallops immediately with the salsa verde spooned over it.