As a food writer, I sometimes find myself falling down the rabbit hole of research. I dig into my whims, searching for the ingredient or flavor that isn’t being talked about yet or a technique that should be. It doesn’t always prove to be fruitful either. Sometimes I spend an afternoon researching only to find my notebook page blank and my creativity sapped. Sometimes it feels like all flavors and combinations are already in the kitchens of home cooks everywhere. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. Not really, anyway. There are so many interesting sauces from Italian, French and other cuisines that haven’t achieved the notoriety of pesto. They’re simple combinations — often an acid, garlic, greens and oil — slightly modified by the addition of this herb or that spice. On paper, they may seem so similar. But when you drizzle them onto a juicy piece of grilled chicken, the differences and nuances in flavor become vastly apparent. I love those nuances.
It’s research like this that led me to salmoriglio sauce. Salmoriglio is an Italian green sauce traditionally made with parsley, oregano, lemon zest, olive oil and garlic. The flavor is warm, but slightly tart. Oregano is what sets it apart, giving it a certain aromatic earthiness. Oregano’s hint of bitterness also offsets the tartness of the lemon, so it’s not as acidic as other similar sauces.
For this dish, thin-cut chicken breasts are seasoned well with salt and pepper, and then drizzled with a little olive oil. Then it’s grilled to juicy, golden perfection. The salmoriglio sauce is made with kale, instead of parsley, and skips the lemon zest so it’s more of a pantry sauce (assuming you have kale in your fridge). And best of all? It’s really a quick and easy recipe. The whole dish can be made in about 15 minutes. Don’t you just love 15-minute dinners? Have you ever had salmoriglio sauce? What’s your favorite sauce?
- 3 lbs thin-cut chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kale Salmoriglio Sauce
- 1 cup packed kale leaves
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat your grill over its medium setting (or prepare charcoals for grilling).
- Wash the chicken breasts and then pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper (be generous!). Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil.
- Grill the chicken for 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, prepare the kale salmoriglio. Combine the kale leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until uniformly combined. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed to desired flavor.
- Serve the chicken with the sauce for drizzling. Enjoy!
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.