Snap Peas Are The Ingredient Alex Guarnaschelli Loves To Add To Salsa Verde - Exclusive

When Alex Guarnaschelli prepares her seared garlic shrimp at the U.S. Open's Club-level restaurant in honor of the annual sporting event (qualifying for which begins Monday, August 22), she'll serve the dish with a salsa verde. And even if you already have a version of the green sauce in your culinary condiment arsenal, you'll want to give the Iron Chef's veggie addition a try. Especially when they're in season, experiment with incorporating sugar snap peas into your salsa verde for a sweet counterpoint to ingredients with sharper taste profiles.

While Guarnaschelli readily admits that sugar snap peas aren't a "traditional" addition to the sauce, she exclusively told Tasting Table that it's nonetheless "what the sauce is missing." The celebrity chef explained, "The sugar snap peas are sweet; they're juicy. They provide such great succulence, and when you're up against other ingredients — particularly, for example, capers and ... vinegar in the salsa verde — you want that."

Guarnaschelli's favorite salsa verde ingredients

The U.S. Open is hardly the first time Alex Guarnaschelli has experimented with the traditional Italian sauce. In a classic Italian version — like one Massimo Bottura gives a MasterClass on — you'll find anchovies, parsley, capers, vinegar, and sometimes onion, garlic, and bread crumbs. But just as you might with a pesto or chimichurri, learn the basics before branching out with your own salsa verde.

When you do begin to tinker with the sauce, let Guarnaschelli's salsa verde variants (snap peas included!) inspire you. The seared shrimp with salsa verde recipe that the celebrity chef gave the James Beard Foundation includes the traditional parsley, capers, and vinegar, and adds tarragon, cilantro, cornichons, and dijon mustard to the mix. But to pair with mussels, Guarnaschelli makes a basil and arugula-infused salsa verde, herbs that she says complement the "natural sweetness" of the seafood. For Food Network, on the other hand, Guarnaschelli prepares asparagus with a salsa verde that incorporates pickles, pickle brine, and mint leaves. In the words of the venerated Julia Child, "The more you know, the more you can create. There's no end to imagination in the kitchen" — and that's certainly something Guarnaschelli has proved with her many salsa verde variations.