Back when Green Goddess Dressing was all the rage, my mother loved it. I was at the age where I hated anything of a suspicious color just on general principles. And that was before I knew it included anchovies, which I also hated. Though I’m not certain I knew what they were. I would eat anything over which I could pour Thousand Island Dressing.
And then I grew up and began to also grow a palate. A friend who manages the stunning produce department of my favorite natural foods store asked me if I could come up with a recipe using angelica, which she’d ordered in, but wasn’t selling. Angelica. My only associations with it had been the massive plants (5 feet is not much on a person, but on a plant it’s significant) that grew wild in our neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then in culinary school when we used it in candied form to decorate cakes. It formed the “stems” of “flowers.” It looked and tasted like sweet, green cocktail straws. As a plant it was a nuisance; as a supposed food, disgusting. So I probably gave her one of those sideways squinty-eyed looks that said, “What on earth did you do that for?” But when she showed it to me, I saw tender-ish stems and deep green leaves. It was lovely. It tastes a bit like celery leaves, only greener, if that helps.
I was already thinking salad dressing, when along came my new friend down the street with a bounty of unwanted white onion scapes. So I decided it was time to dust off an old treasure and give it a face-lift. My mother’s recipe in The American Family Cookbook called for mayo, sour cream, tarragon vinegar, lemon juice, fresh parsley, chopped onion, anchovy paste (of course), chives, capers, garlic, salt and pepper. But I wanted a cleaner, less complicated range of flavors, so I left out the chives, increased the lemon juice and omitted the vinegar and capers, and replaced the sour cream with crème fraîche. I love it. I absolutely love it. I’ll take this over Thousand Island any day.
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
Makes just over 1 cup of dressing
It’s a good idea to prepare this in small batches so you can use it up fairly quickly. The onion scapes and angelica leaves are tender, and tend not to last long once they’ve been puréed. If you can’t find angelica leaves (which have a bright, almost celery-ish flavor), substitute celery leaves.
While it certainly makes a wonderful salad dressing (especially one containing avocados), it’s also a great condiment to use on cold sandwiches and paninis. I, for one, am going to try it on a fish sandwich tomorrow night.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup onion (or garlic) scapes
1/4 cup angelica leaves (or celery leaves)
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 to 4 teaspoons anchovy paste (my concession to the old darling, and I am not referring to my mother, please understand) – start on the low side, you can always add more
1/2 cup crème fraîche or unflavored Greek yogurt
Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients except the crème fraîche or Greek yogurt and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or into a blender. Purée until as smooth as possible.
- Scrape out into a mixing bowl and stir in the crème fraîche or Greek yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store in refrigerator.