The Best Salsa Verde in Brooklyn is Technically Grown in Queens

With help from Laena McCarthy, who runs Brooklyn’s Anarchy in a Jar, head Brooklyn Grange farm guy Ben Flanner uses tomatillos, chiles and an surprising selection of herbs from his Long Island City fields to create salsa verde that’s bright, layered with flavor and utterly fantastic. Damn, is this stuff good.

Brooklyn Grange Farm’s salsa verde. They were out of labels, okay?

Salsa verde has long been one of our favorite summer-through-fall condiments. Not only is its bright green Kermit color kind of thrilling to spoon over eggs and grits and beans and grilled cheese, its tang is totally addictive and it’s also easy to make: Take those sweet-tart tomatillos, white onions, jalapeno and cilantro, then hit puree and you’re basically done.

You can roast or grill or blanch the little green fruits for extra flavor (try a mixed approach for kicks) or add some lime juice… if you’re not taking part in the locavore challenge this September, that is.

But from here on out we’re buying our batches from Brooklyn Grange Farm, which runs the rooftop rows at 37-18 Northern Boulevard, in Long Island City Queens. (The founding farmers live in Brooklyn, and hope to expand to further roofs in the future.) With help from Laena McCarthy, who runs Brooklyn’s Anarchy in a Jar, head farm guy Ben Flanner takes all of the above from his operation and adds some of his incredibly floral hard-to-find chiles, plus herbs like shiso and mint that he also cultivates in copious amounts. The result is bright, layered with flavor and utterly fantastic: Damn, is this stuff good.

Grange now sells jars (they’re made in the commercial kitchen behind Greenpoint’s Eastern District cheese and beer shop, for extra borough cred) for $5 at their markets–which include Saturdays at Smorgasberg and Sundays just outside the front door of Roberta’s Pizza. FYI: It goes pretty nicely with Roberta’s pork jowl, poached eggs and polenta.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.