Salsa Verde (and Salsa Rossa) Recipe

Elemental foods can greatly benefit from a condiment. Just think how a roasted shank of lamb can find an excellent partner in a gentle complementary pomegranate sauce, or how piquant vinaigrette does justice to fresh garden greens, or even how much grilled zucchini and pumpkin love to bask in the simplicity of a bath of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

There are also dishes that cannot be called complete without their supportive sauces and condiments, among these bollito misto and Fondue Bourguignonne immediately come to mind. The different flavors that pair with each morsel of tender cooked meat, make each bite essentially a different dish.

Rich, flavorful bollito misto is a traditional Northern Italian dish, particular of the Po River Valley. The mixed boiled meat feast is a regular winter evening offering at (mostly Northern) restaurants, where it’s wheeled out on a warmed cart and carved at the table.

Traditionally, bollito misto is made of seven cuts of meat, seven vegetable side dishes and seven sauces. Families make it on weekends to celebrate special occasions. In my home, it's a Christmas Day lunch staple.

Today I'm sharing my Nonna Titta's two traditional Piemontese meat seasoning condiments, Salsa Verde and Salsa Rossa: the keystone elements of the complex bollito misto ceremony. 
While your large chunks of meat cook in seasoned broth until tender enough to be eaten with a fork, you can assemble the following:

Salsa verde
This spectacular sauce also goes by the name bagnét vert, or little green bath. 
1 hard boiled egg yolk
1/4 pound of parsley
1 garlic clove
2 salted anchovies
2 slices of stale bread, crusts removed
2 small mild pickles (without dill would be better)
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
A little less than 1 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bread in the vinegar. Bone and wash the anchovies. Mince them along with the parsley, garlic, egg yolk, and the pickles. Gently wring the bread to drain it, and add it to the mixture; continue mincing with a mezzaluna for a couple more minutes, then transfer the blend to a bowl.

Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the olive oil, working the mixture well to obtain a fairly fluid, emerald green sauce.

Tip: Best if prepared one day prior to serving.

Bagnét ros
Keystone number two. Jazz up your bollito misto by adding this red sauce to boiled beef, chicken, veal, cotechino, tongue and testina (calf's head).

1 kg (2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes
400 g (2 cups) onions
2 medium carrots
1 celery rib
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, onions, carrots and celery, and put them all in a pot with half the oil. Bring the vegetables to a boil, reduce the heat to a minimum, and stir in the sugar.

Simmer uncovered for about an hour.

Purée the vegetables through a foodmill into a bowl, stir in the remaining oil, and add salt to taste.

Buon Appetito!