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Archive for February 2009

Recipe Redo

Time for Super Bowl. “Economizing” is this year’s theme, everyone’s doing hummus and salsa. Michael Ruhlman’ s getting preachy about “POT popcorn.”

Skip the trends and go with this idea. Green Goddess dip. Pull out your retro recipe, revamp it and wow friends and relatives.

I’d been thinking about Green Goddess dressing lately when Amanda Hesser, food writer for the New York Times wrote about it. In her column, Recipe Redoux. she pairs a classic “true food” with a chef’s spin, providing culinary history along the way.

Hesser pulls out a 1948 update and contrasts it with a trendy sauce slathered on lamb. I prepared the recipes. Both veered from this diva’s panache in ways that are disappointing.

Hesser recounts the origins:

 The Green Goddess salad was made famous at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 as a tribute to George Arliss, the star of the play “The Green Goddess.” Descendant recipes vary, although most, including James Beard’s in “American Cookery,” rely on a foundation of tarragon, anchovies, chives and scallion. Some include garlic, parsley and chives, some sour cream. In a recent version by Ina Garten, found on the Food Network Web site, she replaced the tarragon with basil. The salad remained green, so no harm done. The bottled Seven Seas version of the dressing, so popular in the 1970s, went the way of moon boots as ranch and balsamic dressings elbowed their way onto shelves. Now produced in limited quantities by Kraft, it’s sold at places like the Vermont Country Store — purveyors of “the practical and hard-to-find” — for about $7.50 a bottle.

I went to Lost Recipes by Marian Cunningham, and found the original. (You can find the recipe online at Saveur) and whipped it upBloomfield describing Green Goddess as 

“a bit like a Caesar, don’t you think?” she asked after tasting it. A lot like a Caesar — and probably related, as Caesar salad was also popular in California in the 1920s. “It’s very strong, but it goes really well with the romaine, which is sturdy,”

I made the original and tossed the salad. Other than the anchovies, it didn’t taste anything like a Caesar. I like a sturdy, hardy salad and I’m no whimp when it comes to full-fat flavors, but it was too much. I mixed a tablespoon of the dressing into a vinaigrette and started over. Hmmm. pure joy.

Times change, tastes changes and Green Goddess dressing as a salad dressing is over. But the flavor is wonderful and the color pure and cleansing. So I thought, what about a dip.

I took the orginal, tweaked a few things and came up with Green Goddess dip. If your body is craving cholorophyll and vegetables after all the fatty, sugary indulgences of Christmas, this is it.

The changes I made:

  • I added more parsely and chives. I like Green Goddess green, green, green.
  • I used fresh tarragon. You can use tarragon vinegar if you want to save money and time.
  • Instead of anchovies, I used fish sauce. Fish sauce imparts a more subtle anchovy flavor. Besides, you save money and time.

Green Goddess Dip

  • 6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp-1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Black pepper to taste

Finely chop herbs and place in a food processor or blender along with lemon juice, vinegar, sour cream, mayonnaise and salt. Blend until the mixture is a deep green. Just before serving add the fish sauce (to taste) and black pepper.

Serve with chips, pita bread or fresh vegetables.

Varuation: Substitue cilantro for parsely and lemongrass vinegar for the tarragon vinegar.




Written by Susan Gillie

February 1, 2009 at 4:36 am

Posted in bloggage, food as fun