Vintage cookbooks are often a treasure trove of information, especially if you want to know the history of a recipe. If you flip through some, you may come across recipes for Green Goddess Dressing, a classic creamy dressing that gets its color from the herbs that are pureed into the mixture. If you have an herb garden that is producing large quantities of parsley, tarragon and chives, this may just be the recipe for you.
For this recipe, I turned to my copy of Helen Brown’s West Coast Cook Book, a 1952 reprint published by the Cookbook Collectors Library. In the headnote for the recipe, she names The Palace Hotel (presumably the one in San Francisco) as the source and the creators of the dressing. According to Ms. Brown, it was created in honor of the actor, George Arliss and the opening of the play The Green Goddess by William Archer.
My copy of the book is a reprint but I love the graphics of this version! This printing does not include any other drawings or photographs in the recipe and I have not ever seen one with a dust jacket but if you are lucky enough to find a copy of the original printing, it may have the dust jacket. Either way, if you enjoy the Mid-Century Modern style of cooking, I recommend picking up a copy, it is full of great recipes!
The Palace Hotel’s Green Goddess Dressing
from Helen Evans Brown’s West Coast Cook Book
Makes about 3 1/4 cups-can easily be cut in half or thirds
8-10 filets of anchovies (I only used 3)
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
3 cups mayonnaise (I used half mayonnaise and half buttermilk so that it would be thinner)
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
She instructs the reader to mince the anchovies with the green onion and then combine all of the ingredients in a bowl that has been rubbed with garlic. To make my batch of dressing, I combined it all in the blender and pureed until smooth and no chunks of anchovies were visible, and I omitted the fresh garlic but you could easily add some if you like. Keep it in the fridge, it lasts about a week but after that, it starts to get a little fishy from the anchovies.
A few notes:
The dressing has a tendency to thicken and gel after it sits in the fridge, I used buttermilk to lighten it and add a little tang. After refrigeration, it will need to be stirred so that it pours.
Be sure to use fresh herbs for the best flavor and texture, a perfect excuse to plant a few in pots and keep them on the window sill or the garden.
Using a blender makes the dressing smooth, if you prefer, you can mince the ingredients as finely as possible and whisk the dressing together. You could also use an immersion blender but I would skip the food processor because of the small amounts of herbs and anchovies.