Green and mean, this fresh, sassy sauce is a mainstay of Peruvian cuisine, and can be served with any meal and hot snack foods. Generally known as salsa ají, it’s simultaneously cool, spicy, creamy, and herby. It’s ideal served up with root vegetables, or on most any baked or fried potato dish, and also great with fried or roasted protein foods, drizzled in a creamy winter squash soup, or as a dip for French fries, sweet potatoes, or yuca. Who would think all that from a salsa made with lettuce?
There are many of variations of this sauce, using regional green herbs or relying on dairy or eggy mayonnaise for the requisite creaminess. But we don’t need any of that for a great green sauce at home with traditional but easy-to-find fresh ingredients such as cilantro, onions, or green onions.
Use any fresh green chiles you can find; serranos are a good choice. If you’re not used to cooking with green chiles blend a little piece at a time into the sauce to see what level of heat you’re comfortable with. One to three fresh green chiles, such as jalapeño or serrano, seeds removed for less heat, if desired.