Don’t be surprised to see a lot of late winter recipes showing up here with highlights of fresh summer herbs. No, I haven’t lost track of the seasons (not possible with all the bad weather news everywhere). It’s more a situation of appreciating the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
My husband, Les, undoubtedly tired of my chronic lament over the deer having eaten my summer garden, gifted me this year with an AeroGarden. It’s a hydroponic, countertop device with individual seed pods for growing whatever your heart desires (or, at least, whatever is legal in your state). Knowing my love of using fresh herbs in the kitchen, Les opted for the herbal variety pack, which included two basil varieties, chives, mint, thyme and two kinds of parsley.
At first, the thing just sort of sat on the table by the kitchen window, blazing its bright blue light across the kitchen for 15 hours a day. The thing comes on by itself at 5:00 a.m., waking the pets, who then wander in to wake us, because they know it must be almost time to eat. It took me a couple weeks to adjust to this new growing schedule, about the same time that tiny sprouts emerged, first from the Genovese basil. It has been fun to watch our little herb babies grow. 🙂
What began as a fun “let’s see what happens” Christmas gift has turned into a “holy moly, what are we gonna do with all this parsley” adventure. By Valentine’s weekend, I realized I needed to do something with the parsley before it consumed the kitchen, as my outdoor basil did last summer in the backyard garden. Les had asked for simple embellishments to our romantic dinner of lobster tails, including roasted asparagus and a Caesar salad (his fave).
“How do you feel about green goddess dressing,” I asked. And so it was.
Green goddess is a throwback food, originally created in the early 1920s at a San Francisco restaurant, and at that time the dressing included mayonnaise, chives, scallions, parsley, garlic, anchovies and tarragon vinegar. By the late ‘40s, The New York Times published a recipe for it, and it hit the grocery shelves in bottled form about 1973. Thank you, Wikipedia, for all that helpful information.
Like any other recipe, green goddess can be switched up to match your flavor (and consistency) preferences. If you want to use it as a dip, ease up on the buttermilk and add more mayo. Hate basil? Leave it out and use extra parsley. If you are gaga for garlic, double it—or roast it for milder flavor. I went rogue a little bit and added a small handful of baby spinach leaves to this version (hey, they’re green), and I love a recipe that is so flexible. The dressing seems to me a mash-up of ranch and Caesar, but with a bounty of freshness to punch up the flavor and, thankfully, a perfect vehicle for freshly picked herbs.
I’ve made my own salad dressing for years, and this was my first green goddess but definitely not my last. Obviously!
1/4 cup thick cultured buttermilk
Small handful of fresh basil leaves
Small handful of curly or flat parsley leaves
Several stems of fresh chives
2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed
2 cloves fresh garlic
4 to 6 fillets of anchovy, to taste* (see notes)
2 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
Small handful fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)
1 to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Remember that anchovies are fairly salty on their own, and you may or may not want additional salt in the mix. If you prefer to omit the anchovies, consider substituting a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce to add a similar punch.
- In the small insert bowl of a food processor, combine herbs, scallions, Dijon, salt and pepper, anchovies and lemon juice. Pulse several times to chop herbs into somewhat uniform mixture.
- Add mayonnaise and Greek yogurt and pulse about 8 times. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings or ingredients as desired, pulsing to incorporate additions.
- Turn processor on steady and slowly drizzle olive oil into the dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and chill several hours or overnight.