Do you like tarragon? French nobility did. As one of the “fine herbes” in French cuisine, tarragon plants were a key component of the gardens of French nobility. Peasants need not apply.
And while the French Revolution was certainly not tarragon inspired, one benefit was the release of tarragon seeds to the world.
A little goes a long way. Read any description about tarragon, and you will get that warning. The flavor is distinct and can easily overpower a dish.
A cardinal dish that is tarragon-based is the famed Green Goddess Dressing. According to Wikipedia, this dressing was created in San Francisco in 1923 to recognize actor George Arliss for his play The Green Goddess. The original version, supposedly, was based on mayonnaise, sour cream, chervil, chives, anchovy, tarragon, lemon juice and pepper. My version below has parsley, not chervil, and optionally suggests yogurt instead of sour cream.
The changes are minor and you are free to make yours. The original recipe is lost in time. In the 1970s, manufacturers created bottled versions of the dressing, which now appear on a limited number of store shelves. Some “new” versions are out there, like a brown tahini version thanks to Trader Joe’s. You are far better off sticking with the green style, tart and vibrant. And you are far, far better off if you make your own.
As a salad dressing, Green Goddess will bring life to your table. As an appetizer with chips, it can stand side to side with the best of margaritas.
What is the perfect accompaniment? Crab. Crab. Crab. In fact, tomorrow’s post is Crab Hush Puppies! That recipe and this one come from the lovely book The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook, which is filled with ideas for the black pan sitting on your shelf. Use it! And, there’s a new edition of the book with even more for you to enjoy.
Green Goddess Dressing and Dip
Yield: about 2 cups
- ¾ cup fresh tarragon leaves
- ¾ cup fresh snipped chives
- ¾ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place the herbs, salt, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, and mustard in a blender. Puree until smooth. With the blender on, slow add the olive oil.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and stir in the sour cream until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Source: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne
Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/25th second, ISO 3200