Peppery Watercress Salsa Verde, Or With Basil and Mint

Salsa verde is a sort of variant of pesto without the nuts. It goes excellently with:

  • Baby leek tart
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Roast vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Use as a dip with taco chips
  • Add to a dressing for a potato salad

If you can’t find watercress (the season is March to November) you can use rocket. If you are in the borage season (June) then add borage instead of the parsley. Or adopt a wholly different approach – substitute the watercress for a mix of mint and basil.


Recipe for Peppery Watercress Salsa Verde, Or With Basil and Mint

Serves 8


  • 100g watercress – John Hurd’s if you can get it, this has a really strong, fresh taste
  • 50g flat leaf parsley
  • 50g mint
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (or Patum Peperium)
  • 3 tbsp of capers – ideally preserved in salt and thoroughly rinsed, but if you have to buy them in brine, soak for half an hour in milk and then drain
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1¼/300 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard (Dijon or grainy)
  • Smoked salt and, Sichuan, or ideally red kampot pepper


  1. Blitz in a tall, narrow vessel with your stick blender
  2. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil (to stop the surface oxydising and turning brown) and put into a sterilised jar



Music to cook to

Salsa scene, from The Ugly Truth

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