Making Chips Healthy: An attempt
Please, don’t come any nearer. I am breathing strong fumes of garlic. I mean strong fumes of garlic.
Friday nights for me are a time of joyous relaxation. I work hard during the week, often long hours. Friday afternoons and evenings are very special to me. I do a yoga class, I visit my friends in the coffee shop and chat, I feel my body unwinding, I might have a long long bath, and I don’t cook.
Usually, I eat something wonderfully delicious but not necessarily incredibly healthy. Like the wonderful wedges that The Store serves in a huge bowl with Goddess Mayonnaise or Sweet Chilli Sauce. The best chips in town. Perfect on Fridays, with a glass of cold cold dry white wine from the Barossa Valley, I am ready for the weekend. Ready for thinking about what I am going to cook, read, do, visit. Who needs what. How I am going to fit it all in.
There is always so very much to cram into a weekend. If I have time I try to do my shopping on the Friday too, so that it eases the pressure. It is a pity to do this – Saturdays at the Central Market and Sundays at the Farmers Market are particular pleasures, but, well, sometimes duty prevails, sometimes there is still some work that needs to be done on the weekend, sometimes other attractions get the better of me.
I do try to eat healthy on all but Friday nights. It doesn’t always work, and despite the wonderful Kathryn Elliott constantly inspiring me to think differently, be more diligent, put some prep work in to make the week easier, it is not always possible to do every thing. (I need a maid, housekeeper and erstwhile cook. Any offers?)
Last Friday, it was late, I had had a long day, my yoga teacher (bless her) was on holidays and I wanted just to curl up at home with The Collectors and a book. I did manage to get my shopping done, and grabbed a pack of oven bake chips for dinner.
I could really have just thrown them in the oven and eaten them as is, I was so end-of-the-week tired, but Kathryn’s voice – I kept hearing her entreating me to at least try and add another vegetable, think about the flavour, add something healthy. I counted and had not eaten my 3 pieces of fruit and five pieces of veggies yet. So after an orange (as an appetiser, ok?), I grabbed my trusty Chinese cleaver and a handful of parsley. Not wanting to break my Friday tradition of not cooking, I thought as long as a pan was not involved, it was not really cooking, right? As long as I just chopped and stirred, I was Ok. And throwing some chips into the oven – no cooking creativity there.
I chopped and chopped that parsley. I threw in a (very large) garlic clove. Some capers, lemon rind, some chives. I drizzled oil, I squeezed lemon, I stirred gently. I poured on and over and around hot hot chips.
I figured there was enough parsley in there to count as a vegetable, and the garlic, well it would ward off future colds, maybe some vampires too. It was so strong even the neighbour might go out for a while. The lemon would help. The oil was olive, virgin, cold pressed, and even my doctor tells me how good that is.
I was smiling. All of a sudden my chips were sounded healthy. Kathryn, it may not be quite what you had in mind, but it was one step closer.
And Oh Oh Oh, it was tasty.
Sometimes the old, the traditional, the simple, the uncomplex is truly wonderful.
Salsa Verde Recipe Notes
Salsa Verde is a classic Italian sauce of parsley and olive oil, with some flavourings. The key to success is the freshest parsley you can find. It has an amazingly fresh taste, almost grassy (in the nicest possible way) and the lemon and salt add such a zing to it, that it is quite more-ish.
It is best to use flat leaved Italian parsley, but the curly variety will work too. Success depends on a sharp knife. Dull knives will bruise the parsley, a sharp one will slice right through. The colour is better when you slice and dice, rather than mash and bruise.
I like rustic, so my salsa verde retains some texture, however you can choose to make it finer if you desire. It is great on bread or crackers, thin it out a little with oil and a teaspoon of warm water as a pasta sauce, serve with haloumi or pan fried tofu. Pour over oven roasted or char grilled vegetables. Or eat with chips.
Experiment with adding other green herbs too. Chives are good. Some spring onion (shallot in the US?). Even, if you are chopping really fine, a kaffir lime leaf and some lemongrass. A tiny piece of preserved lemon. Thyme, mint, rosemary. What about basil, coriander (cilantro)? Even sorrel. Go wild!
Eat, enjoy, then make some more. You will, it is So Very Good. Certainly, the old, the traditional, the simple, the uncomplex is truly wonderful. This salsa will remind you of that.
Oh, and follow it with another piece of fruit.
Source : inspired by The Art of Simple Food
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 1 – 6 people, depending how you use it
0.25 chop chopped parsley – use only the leaves and thin stems
grated zest of lime or lemon
1 garlic clove, chopped finely or mashed into a puree
1 Tblspn capers, rinsed, drained and chopped finely
0.5 tspn salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil (enough to thin the sauce to the desired consistency. Up to 0.5 cup, although I use much less)
large squeeze of lime or lemon juice
You can chop the parsley, garlic and capers together. Stir in the lime or lemon zest, salt and pepper. Thin to the desired consistency with the olive oil. Allow the sauce to sit for half an hour to allow the flavours to develop.
Just before serving stir in the lime or lemon juice. Don’t add earlier or it will discolour the herbs.
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