A little green sauce goes a long way.
No matter if you're making a salad, grilling meats or roasting vegetables, you don't need more than a drizzle of a chimichurri or a pinch of pesto to brighten the whole dish.
These two easy-to-adapt sauce recipes will serve you well this spring, no matter which kinds of dinners (and lunches and brunches) you like to make. I'd even eat this green sauce on breakfast tacos or the lemon spinach sauce on poached eggs. Both of these sauces will keep well in the fridge for a week or two, but you can freeze the Meyer lemon spinach sauce in freezer-safe zip-top bags.
Meyer Lemon Spinach Sauce
You can make this recipe with a regular lemon, but I love it with the sweeter taste of the Meyer lemon. You can use this sauce over pasta, baked potatoes, sliced baked chicken, grilled shrimp, sauteed scallops or as a sandwich spread.
— Elisabeth Bailey
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Juice and zest of 3 Meyer lemons
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the spinach and pepper flakes, and cook until the spinach is warm, about 10 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and zest and black pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, add the yogurt and stir.
Cool the sauce in the refrigerator, then portion out into freezer bags. Lay the bags flat in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in a bowl of warm water and then heat in a saucepan on the stove. Makes 8 cups.
— From "The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution: Elevate Your Everyday Meals with 61 Freezer-Friendly Sauces" by Elisabeth Bailey (Storey Publishing, $16.95)
The Only Green Sauce You Need
At any time, I have a green sauce working for me (read: at the ready to spoon or swoosh onto every plate). It has the power to make any otherwise unmemorable meal come to life. It might be made with a bag of prewashed kale, leftover herb bits or wild mustard gathered from the yard; it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that green sauce (no other name needed) is a one-size-fits-all accessory you can count on, with oodles of flexibility and a very forgiving tone. You can add nuts (à la pesto — be they almonds, pepitas or pine nuts), or make it straight up with greens and a glug of your best olive oil. I store mine on the top shelf of my refrigerator in a glass container, where I can see it, use it and replenish it with ease all week long.
1 bunch fresh parsley, cilantro, arugula, mustard greens, or another punchy green (about 3 packed cups)
1 small bunch fresh chives
Juice of 1 lemon or lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 to 4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup something with body (1/4 avocado, nuts, miso, tahini, etc.)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt (give or take)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (give or take)
Add the greens, chives, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, avocado, sea salt and pepper in a blender and pulse until broken down and easy to dollop with a spoon (adding a tablespoon of water if needed to thin and get the blender going). Smear on toast, veggies, cheese sandwiches. Drizzle over grilled fish, fried eggs, savory yogurt bowls or roasted vegetables. You can keep this in the fridge for up to a week.
— From "Every Day is Saturday: Recipes and Strategies for Easy Cooking, Every Day of the Week" by Sarah Copeland (Chronicle Books, $29.95)