We get so used to store-bought salad dressings, it’s easy to forget how simple they are to make. We’re not suggesting whipping up a batch of mayonnaise, but with very little work, anyone can put together a tasty dressing. Green Goddess Dressing, for example, a creamy combination of mayonnaise, anchovies and herbs, takes less time to prepare than it does to wash a head of lettuce, and besides dressing salads, it can be used as a sauce.
Green Goddess Dressing was created in the early 1920s by Philippe Roemer, chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. At the time, George Arliss, an actor starring in The Green Goddess, a play by William Archer, was staying at the hotel. According to food historians, Roemer made the dressing for a dinner honoring Archer and named it after the play. The herby mayonnaise dressing, first served with a crab and romaine salad, became the signature dressing at the hotel and is still popular at lunch with Dungeness Crab Salad.
Using Chef Roemer’s recipe as a blueprint, we made Green Goddess Dressing with mayonnaise, anchovies, vinegar, scallions and green herbs. Some cooks add sour cream or yogurt, but we stuck to the original ingredients. In the interest of convenience, we used anchovy paste instead of minced anchovies, and instead of puréeing the dressing, which some recipes suggest, we stirred the dressing by hand to give it a rough texture.
In addition to salads, Green Goddess Dressing is delicious with broiled or pan-fried fish or as a topping for steamed artichokes or hard-cooked eggs. It can be made ahead, keeps well in the refrigerator and is better than anything sold in a bottle.
By Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.