Weeknight Cooking

The Silver Palate's Green Sauce

April 16, 2014

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Executive Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: A sauce in spring green that goes with everything from asparagus to salmon to Easter hams and lambs (and the perfect place to put those leftover hard-boiled eggs).

We know that eggs are the secret to giving our favorite sauces their character: the cold whip in your mayo, the hot gloss in your hollandaise. 

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Both have a home in spring, but eat too much of either one and you won't be up for a dewy stroll in the park; you'll be going back to bed. 

Here is a way to give a spring sauce substance, and eat it immodestly. And it requires none of the technique or precision of egg's other guises. If you can boil an egg, you can make this sauce.

The trick is to pare down. First, take the egg out of the equation to punch up the sauce -- make it briny, make it grassy -- then add it back in at the end for texture and blips of cool, clean flavor. 

To that end is green sauce -- the American answer to salsa verde or sauce verte --  from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook, tucked away as one of four sauces for asparagus. It needs to be broken out and celebrated, under a spotlight of balmy, new April sunshine, attended by armies of just-born green vegetables. It deserves its own chapter, or maybe its own book.


"It just seemed to shout spring to naturally combine a little bit of a classic French green sauce (gribiche with the eggs) with a little bit of an Italian (salsa verde with capers and anchovies) into a lovely little green sauce. It just tastes like that new green of spring to me," Silver Palate cofounder Julee Rosso explained. "I’m afraid we were taking a bit of poetic license long before 'fusion'."

Green sauce is also a good place to take advantage of a kitty of leftover hard-cooked eggs -- because there's only so much you can devilsalad, and mimosa.

More: How to dye eggs -- naturally -- for Easter. 

And it's made in the food processor, start to finish, in the time it would take you to watch half an episode of Mad Men. It will taste so much more refined and alive than something that came out of a machine has a right to, it might make you angry. But mostly happy. Watch:

Make some hard-cooked eggs however you like to do that. We put them in cool water, brought them up to a simmer, then shut off the heat for 12 minutes, the Virginia Willis way. But if you want to gently boil them for 10 instead, that's fine too.

Cool them, peel them, chop them up.

Take your greens -- parsley, dill, scallions -- for a spin in the food processor, until they make a fine, fragrant mulch. You could use a blender instead, or try something manual with a knife and mortar or whisk, but I like the easy way.

Add anchovies, garlic, capers, and lemon, and mulch some more.


Ease in olive oil while the blade whirs on, and you'll get a brighter, more buoyant and mayonnaise-like sauce than your average salsa verde or pesto.

Finally, stir in your chopped eggs -- if you want to do this by pulsing one last time in the food processor, I can't stop you (I couldn't stop myself) but know that if you do so for more than half a breath, you won't end up with neatly diced bits suspended in smooth green cream, but something more clotted.


Make a huge batch on Easter. Set it out on the table with your lamb or ham. The next day, spoon it over poached salmon. Bundle boiled new potatoes all up in it, then take them to work with you. Pool it on top of grilled chicken, or shrimp, or steak. Dunk spears of blanched asparagus. And radishes. And fennel. 

There's almost nothing you will cook for dinner this season (or the next) that you won't want to cover in green sauce.

Silver Palate's Green Sauce

Adapted slightly from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook (Workman, 1985)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups fresh parsley leaves
3 scallions (green onions, white and green parts), sliced
1/2 cup fresh dill sprigs
3 anchovy fillets, drained
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Merrill Stubbs (and her mother!) for this one!

Photos by James Ransom

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I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


rachel E. April 15, 2015
can you blend it really well and disguise the hard-boiled eggs or would the texture be too different? I have a husband who is totally grossed out by eggs but I think he would like the flavour of the sauce.
EmilyC April 30, 2014
Made this for Easter and it was lovely with our roast lamb and asparagus. Love the dill-parsley combination!
abigailo April 27, 2014
I made it yesterday - over steaks, asparagus, zucchini - everyone from the grandparents to the 11 and 12 year olds loved it. Put it on scrambled eggs this morning - yum. Will have to make a new batch soon - but that's ok because it was so easy. I like the question about subbing cilantro in the comments - may try that on the 3rd go round.
keith G. April 21, 2014
Sounds a great sauce. I wonder if it would work equally well with wild garlic or as you probably call them ramps instead of scallions (spring onions!)?
Nimuae April 21, 2014
Delicious as written ~ I made this for Easter dinner and it was a hit with everyone.
Eileen C. April 16, 2014
This looks beautiful and sounds scrumptious. Any idea how long it will keep and could it be frozen?
navahfrost April 16, 2014
This reminds me of Jeremiah Tower's Montpellier butter, which is one of my favorite sauces/condiments. This is healthier, (no butter!) though, so I'll feel less guilty putting it on everything. Thank you!
David B. April 16, 2014
I wonder how it would taste using cilantro instead of parsley...
ashley S. April 16, 2014
I will certainly make this, sans eggs, to put on chicken or pork chops! (Or even, dare I say it, in soft tacos.)
Terri April 16, 2014
You can't pin this recipe..
mauigirlcooks April 16, 2014
Splendid~I need my dill to grow faster!
Dawn W. April 16, 2014
The Silver Palate cook books are two of my favs. They are secret weapons in my kitchen arsenal. Glad to see they really aren't secret at all!
carol M. April 16, 2014
I am going to make this just because of the color and the ingredients...but chopped eggs? Do they really add anything but odd texture? Just curious and also impatient as I won't make this until Friday or Saturday. I also question whether it will really go with ham, which is what I am being forced to serve, but I don't care.
JohnL April 16, 2014
The only way to know if you like it yourself is to just take the plunge and try it. If you don't want to risk spoiling the entire batch with egg only to find out you don't care for it, just add an egg to half the sauce and test it first. But, for sure you know this sauce (with egg) pairs well with asparagus; Google "mimosa vinaigrette" for ideas on other foods that are good topped with chopped hard boiled eggs.