I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.
A while back, I posted my recipe for the best ‘knock their socks off’ salsa verde. And, in my opinion, it still is. The best, that is. Only, it has mustard in it. Not to mention cornichons (baby gherkins). Both of which are verboten, at least during the strict elimination stage of the AIP.
My folks just happen to be in Germany at the moment. Mum originates from Frankfurt – a place where they are so passionate about green sauce they have their very own name for it: Frankfurter Grie Soß. In this region of Germany, the sauce is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt, sour cream, and generous amounts of seven fresh herbs – borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet. You can even buy fresh packets of the seven herbs to make Grie Soß at the supermarket.
How cool is that?
I have very fond memories of visiting my Omi just out of Frankfurt and eating the sauce, served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs. Its one of those regional meals that evokes almost an emotional response in me… It’s little wonder I am missing my salsa verde!
You have five wonderful things:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There is no end to the possibilities… (Fergus Henderson, ‘The Complete Nose to Tail – A Kind of British Cooking’)
Green sauce, or whatever you choose to call it, is one of those incredibly easy additions to a simply cooked – grilled, roasted, boiled – piece of protein – meat, fish, eggs – that elevates it to a whole new level.
And, it just happens to be a great way to increase the nutrient density of your meal, too. One of the things I love about this AIP-caper that I’m on – I’m learning about food that tastes great AND is good for me…
Want to know just how green sauce achieves that?
Well, even if we limit ourselves to the wonderfully eccentric Fergus Henderson’s five wonderful things that make up the base of a good green sauce, here’s a brief run down of what you’re adding:
Capers are one of the plant sources high in flavonoid compounds rutin (or rutoside) and quercetin. Both these compounds are powerful anti-oxidants. There is evidence that quercetin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. And, rutin helps in smooth circulation of blood and it can be very helpful in treating strained blood vessels.
The spicy caper buds contain healthy levels of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin K, niacin, and riboflavin. Niacin helps lower LDL cholesterol.
Minerals like calcium, iron, and copper are also present in capers.
Those who include fat and red meat (that’s me!) in their daily diet should eat capers since they destroys certain byproducts found in meat and foods which are rich in fat. These byproducts can be responsible for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Capers can help to keep diabetes in check. They contain chemicals that keep blood sugar under control. I did not know that!
Anchovies are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy unsaturated fats that lower inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating one or two 3-ounce servings of oily fish each week reduces your risk of fatal heart disease by up to 36 percent*.
Anchovy fillets are a source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. All three minerals are essential for the growth and maintenance of strong bones.
In addition to forming bones, calcium and magnesium have important roles in the cardiovascular system. Calcium stimulates muscles in the heart and blood vessels to contract, and magnesium makes them relax. They maintain your heart beat and regulate blood pressure. Anchovies also provides niacin, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6. Vitamins B-12 and B-6 remove a substance from the blood that contributes to heart disease. Niacin lowers levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and may reduce the chance of dying from a heart attack.
Anchovies are a rich source of iron. Iron is the transporter of oxygen throughout the body, but it’s also necessary for cells to make energy and to help white blood cells kill bacteria.
Bottled or tinned anchovies are often first preserved in salt and then packed in oil or more salt. If you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, you can eliminate some of the excess salt by rinsing the fillets or soaking them in cold water for 30 minutes before using.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Always go for the best EVOO you can afford. The quality of olive oil production — especially the stage of pressing — really does make a difference when it comes to health benefits.
EVOO has anti-inflammatory properties. It contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, nutrients that can fight inflammation. It has been suggested that one of the mechanisms behind olive oil’s benefits, is its ability to fight inflammation. The oil’s main anti-inflammatory effects seem to be mediated by the antioxidants present, primarily oleocanthal, which has been shown to work like ibuprofen, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug.
EVOO appears to protect against cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). Many observational studies show that death from these diseases is low in certain areas of the world, particularly countries around the Mediterranean Sea. It’s pretty well known that following a Mediterranean-style Diet can help prevent heart disease.
The oleic acid in olive oil is also highly resistant to oxidation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. For this reason, saturated fats (no double bonds) are resistant to high heat, while polyunsaturated fats (many double bonds) are sensitive and become damaged.
Garlic strengthens the immune system as well as helps to fight chest infections, coughs and congestion. In the winter months garlic is a great food to boost your immune system and ward off colds and flu.
An old folk remedy is to eat a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey at the first sign of a cold. I love garlic, but I’ve never been brave enough to give this a go…
Garlic has high levels of iodine which makes it a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions.
Garlic has good levels of vitamin C.
Cardiovascular disease can be reduced by ingesting garlic. LDL cholesterol is no friend of garlic and the aortic plaque deposits that gather on the walls of your body’s veins can be reduced with the use of garlic too.
Fungal and bacterial infections can be improved when treated with garlic! When crushed or bruised, garlic releases Allicin which is a sulphuric compound that is a natural antibiotic. Apparently, WWI soldiers even used crushed garlic on infected wounds suffered in battle.
Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. Vitamin B6 can also help with mood swings. Do you think Pharell Williams eats a lot of garlic?
Garlic can aid in the prevention of multiple types of cancer. Bladder cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and stomach cancer have all been shown to have their tumors reduced when treated with garlic. Vitamin B6 is said to have cancer fighting abilities.
Garlic regulates blood sugar as it enhances the level of insulin in the blood. This may help in the control of diabetes.
Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins, including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system, too.
Parsley helps flush out excess fluid from the body, which supports your kidney function. Parsley does contain oxalates, which can cause problems for those with existing kidney and gall bladder problems.
Regular use of parsley can help control your blood pressure. The folate in this herb is like a tonic for your heart.
When used daily, parsley can apparently cause relief from joint pain. That’s because the herb has anti-inflammatory properties.
Parsley tea relaxes stiff muscles and encourages digestion.
All great reasons to make more green sauce, I say!
Ingredients For base sauce: Optional Extras: Method 1. Chop your parsley and optional extra herbs finely by hand. Chuck into a bowl. 2. Now, in turn, chop your garlic, capers and anchovies. Add to the herb mixture. 3. Add your Extra Virgin Olive Oil – enough that your sauce retains a spoonable but not runny (or – UGH! – oily) texture. Mix well. 4. Taste. Season with black pepper. Mix again. The sauce should not need extra salt with the capers and anchovies for flavour. 5. Now is the time to add any other optional mustard or vinegar. If adding cornichons or chopped hard-boiled egg, leave this until just before serving. E N J O Y !
AIP-Compliant Green Sauce
1 x bunch flat leaf parsley
8 – 12 x cloves garlic
1 x small tin of anchovies in EVOO
1 x handful of capers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper (Optional – omit for strict AIP)
Hard boiled eggs
Cornichons (baby gherkins)
Red wine vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
For base sauce:
1. Chop your parsley and optional extra herbs finely by hand. Chuck into a bowl.
2. Now, in turn, chop your garlic, capers and anchovies. Add to the herb mixture.
3. Add your Extra Virgin Olive Oil – enough that your sauce retains a spoonable but not runny (or – UGH! – oily) texture. Mix well.
4. Taste. Season with black pepper. Mix again. The sauce should not need extra salt with the capers and anchovies for flavour.
5. Now is the time to add any other optional mustard or vinegar. If adding cornichons or chopped hard-boiled egg, leave this until just before serving.
E N J O Y !
*according to research published in the October 2006 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”
This recipe featured in the Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe Roundtable