From the first time I heard of Green Goddess Dressing I knew that I would have make it, eat it and find out where that fabulous name came from!
It is credited with having been created in the early 1920’s by the executive chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in recognition of the actor, George Arliss, who was staying there at the time. Arliss was starring in a hit play of the day, called “The Green Goddess”, and chef Phillipe Roemer created the dressing for a banquet held in Arliss’s honour using chopped green herbs in reference to the name of the play. It became a signature dish of that hotel and is still served there in an adapted form.
The classic version of this gorgeous dressing contains – in varying amounts – mayonnaise, anchovies, chives, tarragon, green onion and garlic, but always with enough herbs to give it the necessary green colour. According to my research, some have been known to use spinach leaves or green food colouring (!!) to attain this, although this seems completely unnecessary. It can be adjusted in a zillion different ways – using tarragon vinegar instead of tarragon, using 1/2 in 1/2 sour cream and mayo, adding yoghurt or adding different herbs. You must never, ever contemplate leaving out the anchovies! I know that they look hairy and smell fishy, but they will impart a depth of flavour, without any fishiness, that you simply cannot do without! I was unable to lay my hands on tarragon, so used basil instead, although I think that tarragon would have been much nicer. Substituting tarragon vinegar for ordinary is another way around that problem, if you have tarragon vinegar, of course.
I adapted my version from a recipe given to me by my friend Margie, and served it with a fresh crayfish salad. Sadly, this was mostly devoured before the camera was thought of, but there were enough leftovers to make lunch the next day which I managed to snap.
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
1 green onion
1/2 bunch parsley
1 bunch basil
2 cloves of garlic
2 – 3 anchovy fillets
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
Blitz onion,parsley, basil, garlic and anchovies in processor until very finely chopped.
Add rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined.
Season with black pepper if desired. Salt will be unnecessary as the anchovies will have that covered.