Must be on account of the endless, unrelenting grey of recent days but I can’t stop making this brilliant green sauce: 100g of green leaves (preferably edible), blanched, blended, creamed and lightly thickened with cornflour – the sauce takes about 9 minutes from start to finish. Serve with pasta, or chicken breasts or the kind of pearly white fish that subsides delectably into flakes (skrei or fresh haddock are good, turbot would be the bee’s knees). If you’ve used wild garlic, try it with a rack of lamb pinkly roasted and splayed out over the sauce.
GREEN SAUCE (Makes about 2 cups/500ml)
The key to this sauce is in the title: it must be GREEN. None of your sludgy Land Rover stuff, I’m talking spring green, bright, sprightlyand positively verdant. The keys to achieving this are 1) boil the water before you put the greeneryin the pan, 2) don’t let the sauce boil too long once creamed, thickened and blended and 3) don’t cover the pan at any time. Don’t ask me why, but Harold McGee gives this as one reason for the oxidation of sauces and subsequent loss of colour. The sauce freezes well.
Makes about 2 cups of sauce
a good handful of greenery, about 100g, stalks removed: wild garlic, spinach watercress or flat-leaf parsley
250ml whipping cream (crème fraîche fluide/Schlagrahm)
2 teaspoons cornflour/starch (Maizena)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Boil 1 cup of water in a pan with a pinch of salt
- Add trimmed greenery and boil 5 minutes
- Sprinkle cornflour onto 2 tablespoons of water in a cup and stir till smooth
- Remove pan from the heat, add slaked cornflour and cream and blend till smooth with a hand-held blender (or tip sauce into blender and blend till smooth)
- Bring sauce to a boil, stirring with a wire whisk – it must boil, otherwise it won’t thicken, but not too long or it will lose its lovely green colour
- Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper
Some serving ideas (variations are endless)
For a more subsantial lunch or supper, I use full-sized eggs (soft-boiled for 7 minutes so they’re still runny in the middle) and scatter with tiny strips of crisp-fried bacon/lardons instead of smoked salmon.
Nice with scallops too, and a smattering of teeny lardons…
Or pour a puddle of sauce on a plate and set on top a beautiful piece of grilled white fish, or a slab of salmon cooked on a bed of salt à l’unilatérale (skin side only, about 12 minutes depending on thickness of salmon)