So the other day, when I was live-streaming my dinner preparations from my kitchen (making history! see here) I was surprised not only by how many people turned out (including impressive folks like Dan Saltzstein and Kelsey Nixon (who has her own show launching soon on Cooking Channel!)) but how useful it is to have 48 people watching you as you cook, offering their tips and suggestions. And one of those suggestions (and I apologize, I forget who it came from) was to make a salsa verde to go with the spatchcocked chicken I was making.
The dinner party was for our friends Brendan and Sasie. The menu was this: a watermelon salad with mint and feta, spatchcocked chicken, potato salad and chocolate pudding for dessert.
In the video, I started with the pudding (that’s when things were fun and interesting, after that, I did dishes and it got kind of boring; next time, I’ll have a co-host), then boiled the potatoes, prepped the chicken and finally, off camera, I made the watermelon salad. I was daunted to find that my seedless watermelon, purchased from Gourmet Garage, was filled with seeds. I was forced to cut around them and ended up with not enough watermelon to cover a pretty platter. Still, I made it work with small individual plates of watermelon, tossed with olive oil and lots of red wine vinegar, slivered red onion, shredded mint, salt, pepper and an ingredient that I polled my viewers on: chopped preserved lemon. Did they think it would work in the salad? They did. And indeed, it did work, adding a salty, citrusy note:
See? Those viewers are handy.
As for the chicken, I coated two birds in a mixture of toasted, ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper and baked them–backbones removed and pressed flat on a cookie sheet–in a 425 oven until the breast was 150 and the leg 170:
As you can see, not so exciting. So I polled the viewers: how to dress it up? Someone suggested salsa verde.
Specifically, they recommended Jamie Oliver’s recipe: a mixture of chopped garlic, capers, gherkins, anchovies, parsley, basil, mint, Dijon, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Jamie, on his website, tells you to chop it all by hand, but I didn’t have patience for that, so I just blended it in a blender:
And, sure enough, that sauce was just what this dinner needed. With the gherkins, capers and anchovies, there was a great injection of salt and acidity; with the herbs, a bright freshness. Here it is smothered over the chicken on Craig’s plate:
That’s quite a sauce and it made quite a difference. So thanks random viewer who suggested it! I hope you’ll all come to the next live cooking broadcast; I promise it’ll be even more fun and entertaining. What would you like to see me make?
based on a recipe by Jamie Oliver
So, to do it Jamie’s way, finely chop by hand 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small handful of capers, 1 small handful gherkins, 6 anchovies, 2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 handful fresh mint. To do it my way, put all those same things in a blender. Either way, you then add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 8 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust for vinegar (mine needed more), salt and pepper.