An Italian Care Package

It doesn’t look like much… I received a text from my neighbor Silvana this morning that she had hung a little something on the fence between our homes.  A care package…Silvana spoils us and we spoil her back.  By spoiling us I mean she often leaves care packages on my fence. When she goes to visit her mother she brings back farm fresh eggs. Last week there was a crate of nectarines that my husband later canned and also made into jam. She usually sneaks something sweet into the bag for the kids too– cookies from a local pastry shop, chocolates or artisanal chocolate hazelnut spread. Nutella, the industrially produced version of this spread originated here in Piemonte. 

By spoiling Silvana I mean we reciprocate. Reciprocity is very important in this culture. That doesn’t mean that I give Silvana something every time she hangs a sack on my fence, but when I bake cookies I make sure to send her some. She likes to make a tisana (an herbal infusion) from the malva (mallow) that grows like a weed in my garden, so I leave it on the wall for her when I am out puttering around.  At Christmas, I make a big platter of American goodies for her to share with her family. Iced sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn balls, and fudge among other things that they don’t have here.

So what was in the bag today?  

Today it was a bag of fresh green beans from her garden, a small jar of Salsa Verde (green sauce) and a recipe for the salsa.

The salsa is delicious. We will spread it on fresh sliced tomatoes with some anchovy fillets. It’s good on its own too if you don’t want the extra anchovy as these little fish already go into making the sauce. Here is Silvana’s recipe:

Silvana’s Salsa Verde

3.5 oz of fresh flat leaf parsley 

2 hard boiled eggs

6 anchovy fillets

Half a clove of garlic (I remove the heart…you can add more if you like a lot of garlic, I don’t)

1 tsp of salted capers, rinsed well

A pinch of salt

1/4 cup of grated breadcrumbs

3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée. 

This is also delicious spread on roasted peppers, on grilled chicken or turkey and will last up to five days in the fridge.  Buon Appetito! 

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