Dec 17, 2010

Salsa verde (and salsa rossa) recipe

Elemental foods can greatly benefit from a condiment. Just think how a roasted shank of lamb can find an excellent partner in a gentle complementary pomegranate sauce, or how piquant vinaigrette does justice to fresh garden greens, or even how much grilled zucchini and pumpkin love to bask in the simplicity of a bath of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

There are also dishes that cannot be called complete without their supportive sauces and condiments, among these bollito misto and Fondue Bourguignonne immediately come to mind. The different flavors that pair with each morsel of tender cooked meat, make each bite essentially a different dish.

Rich, flavorful bollito misto is a traditional Northern Italian dish, particular of the Po River Valley. The mixed boiled meat feast is a regular winter evening offering at (mostly Northern) restaurants, where it’s wheeled out on a warmed cart and carved at the table.

Traditionally, bollito misto is made of seven cuts of meat, seven vegetable side dishes and seven sauces. Families make it on weekends to celebrate special occasions. In my home, it's a Christmas Day lunch staple.

Today I'm sharing my Nonna Titta's two traditional Piemontese meat seasoning condiments, Salsa Verde and Salsa Rossa: the keystone elements of the complex bollito misto ceremony. 

While your large chunks of meat cook in seasoned broth until tender enough to be eaten with a fork, you can assemble the following:

Salsa verde
This spectacular sauce also goes by the name bagnét vert, or little green bath. 

1 hard boiled egg yolk
1/4 pound of parsley
1 garlic clove
2 salted anchovies
2 slices of stale bread, crusts removed
2 small mild pickles (without dill would be better)
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
A little less than 1 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bread in the vinegar. Bone and wash the anchovies. Mince them along with the parsley, garlic, egg yolk, and the pickles. Gently wring the bread to drain it, and add it to the mixture; continue mincing with a mezzaluna for a couple more minutes, then transfer the blend to a bowl.

Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the olive oil, working the mixture well to obtain a fairly fluid, emerald green sauce.

Tip: Best if prepared one day prior to serving.

Bagnét ros
Keystone number two. Jazz up your bollito misto by adding this red sauce to boiled beef, chicken, veal, cotechino, tongue and testina (calf's head).

1 kg (2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes
400 g (2 cups) onions
2 medium carrots
1 celery rib
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, onions, carrots and celery, and put them all in a pot with half the oil. Bring the vegetables to a boil, reduce the heat to a minimum, and stir in the sugar.

Simmer uncovered for about an hour.

Purée the vegetables through a foodmill into a bowl, stir in the remaining oil, and add salt to taste.

Buon Appetito!


  1. So is the Seven Fishes a Southern Italy tradition?? I think I would have to go with the Fishes .. I do eat meat but not boiled ..!

  2. Anne~
    Yes, the 7 Fishes ceremony is strictly Southern Italian. Boiled meat may sound obvious and boring, but if properly prepared, a Northern Italian Bollito Misto dinner is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying meals imaginable!

  3. Hi Eleonora, and Marry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! These two sauces sound wonderful - I love pureeing roasted vegetables for soups and this red sauce sounds wonderful. The only type of pickle that I can think of besides a dill pickle here in the US are garlic pickles - which might be too strong a flavor for the green sauce. Hope all is well - I should be posting in the next couple of days - I've been very behind in posting all that's going on here at Frog Hollow Farm. There has been so much to do lately. Ciao, bella!

  4. nice sauces...boiled meat does sound interesting, but would definitely need something to spice it up a bit...

  5. Can the tomato sauce be used on pasta for a quick dinner?

  6. FHFG~
    I was thinking regular Gurken pickles, but dills are OK too.
    Best wishes for you and FHFB!!


    The surprise is in the variety of flavors in the meats, boiled 'til tender. So yummy! Sometimes I just eat Bollito with olive oil and rcok salt!
    Hope you've found happy in the meantime.


    Absolutely! I make enough for leftovers, and always dress my pasta the next day with it!

  7. I've had bolito misto but I don't recall a variety of sauces. This post has my mouth watering.

  8. FOODalogue~
    Maybe something to make for the holidays... Buon appetito!

  9. As a confirmed carnivore, my mouth is watering.

  10. I’ve just nominated you for a stylish award. Stylish girl. Pop over to graciously accept it here:


    Adventures of a Pastor's Wife

  11. Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year from FHFG and FHFB!

  12. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year ~ luv from your Brit bloggy ex ambulance man, Eddie x

  13. Hi Lola,
    The bollito misto, and the two sauces are so festive and beautiful.
    Wishing you and your lovely family, a Very Merry Christmas...Buon Natale...Auguri!
    Hugs, and kisses!

    Lola-thank you for your kind condolences!

  14. Thank you for these wonderful recipes. When I was in Alba recently I had salsa verde and it was delicious. Have a look at the latest posting of my blog - there is a little surprise for you there!

  15. These look finger-licking good!

    I hope you are enjoying a warm and cozy Christmastime!

    Buon Anno Nuovo,

  16. Once again you've come up with a recipe that I've never heard of before! I thought I was quite the foodie expert but then you post a recipe which baffles all creation.

    I'm guessing that these sauces are created out of availability of ingredients at this time of the year and season. You must have had a sweet relationship with your nonna. She would be proud to see how you learned so well.

    Happiness in the new year...1.1.11

  17. Simonetta & PaolaJan 2, 2011, 7:31:00 PM

    Great recipe from Norther Italy, our Granma' prepared it during Christmas holidays
    We are so glad to have found your blog. It is beautiful and fun to read. And what a terrific and extensive list of links to all things Italian. We love it. Brava!

  18. Sorry for replying this late...

    Mission accomplished!

    Thank you so much! I will stop by asap!!

    Happy holidays to you too!

    Same to you, buddy. Hugs.

    Thank you and holiday cheer to you too, dear.

    Cuisine de Provence~
    Thank you, you are too kind! I'll be over in a jiffy.

    Warm Christmas in California and a chilly Italian New Year :) Auguri!

    Nonna and I were indeed very close. Now I see that same special relationship between my son and my mother. Happy new year to you too!

    Simonetta & Paola~
    Grazie! Happy you enjoy my little kitchen, come back soon!