Sauces make everything better. Whether a spicy ranchero sauce to pour liberally over crispy fried eggs, salsa verde to slather on grilled meats and vegetables or a stewed fruit concoction to spread on buttered toast, adding extra flavor to ordinary foods can make all the difference.
With an overflowing mint plant in my garden, I needed to trim some back so it would continue to proliferate in the hot summer months as it does so beautifully. After a good trim, I wondered what to do with these luscious stems of mighty mint.
Often times, I will stick the stems in a vase for a fragrant and usable centerpiece. Lately, I have added lots of mint leaves to our sun-brewed tea which we adore, but I wanted something completely different. Something more hearty, earthy and savory like this green harissa sauce in The Sprouted Kitchen’s cookbook Bowl + Spoon.
Traditional harissa is a garlicy-chile paste commonly featured in North African cuisine and made with lots of chiles, and sometimes tomatoes, giving it a beautiful red color. Harissa is a hot new condiment that seems to be moving in on the heels sriracha and ketchup, so I thought I would give this milder version a try.
Having become a slave to my local library (and I mean this in a loving way–as I am able to peruse cookbooks and decide if they are worth buying…of the 25 cookbooks I have checked out of the library, only one is a must-buy), I have stacks of cookbooks I am plowing through and finding great recipe ideas, just like this one.
Using plenty of mint along with parsley, cilantro, garlic and a single serrano, this sauce is very similar to salsa verde and chimichurri, but with just enough kick of spice and hint of mint for me to want to keep this toothsome sauce in my repertoire.
Keep your herbs in “mint” condition and put it to good use.
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and stem trimmed
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1 serrrano chile stemmed and mostly seeded
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus a bit extra if needed
Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor and let it whirl to combine.
With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined, adding a bit more if needed so everything comes together.
Transfer to a jar. If not using immediately, let it meld for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate. Before serving, let it come to room temperature, stir well and spoon liberally over grilled meats and vegetables, eggs, roasted potatoes and more.