Monday, March 25, 2013

Cooking Floyd: Anchovy Vinaigrette and Green Goddess Dressing

I've spent most of my life steering clear of fish on my pizza: NO ANCHOVIES!!  I used anchovies in stuff but always considered it the "spice that grows in the sea".  I'd use a couple tiny filets out of a can but then the rest would sit in the fridge for months until I threw it out.  As a child I loved Green Goddess salad dressing.  As an adult I was always bummed that I couldn't make it taste like I remembered.  It always somehow fell flat.  I just figured out the missing flavor is- Anchovies!
It's interesting how our taste for foods changes.  Black olives were right out for me until just a few years ago.  Then I tasted Cerignolas and now I can't get enough.  Anchovies were disgusting until I had better quality ones studding a Magarita pizza made with totally top quality fresh ingredients.  Now I crave the little buggers.  I've also noticed that my new favorites/formerly icky foods are both high on the umami scale.

I can't remember where I found this recipe for Anchovy Vinaigrette.  It was originally meant to be poured over pan-seared broccoli but this weekend it ended up on asparagus.  It just loves wrapping itself around lightly charred green veg!

Seared Asparagus with Anchovy Vinaigrette
Anchovy Vinaigrette
4 oil-packed anchovies
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled
⅓ cup olive oil
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil (choose one with a high smoke point)
1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
⅛ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, food processor, or with a stick blender, purée the anchovies, vinegar and garlic together on high speed until somewhat smooth. I used my stick blender so the initial result was a little chunky.
Slowly pour in the olive oil, blending until the vinaigrette is emulsified and thick. Season with the pepper.  Since I was using the stick blender I put all the oil in the blending jar at once.  It still emulsified nicely.
It was when I tasted the vinaigrette for seasoning that I suddenly realized THIS is what's been missing from my Green Goddess!  More on that later.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and asparagus and season with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the spears are slightly caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and drizzle with the anchovy vinaigrette. Serve warm.

Green Goddess Dressing
1 anchovy vinaigrette recipe
4 more anchovy filets
1/4 cup of capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, more if you like your dressing very herbal
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
black pepper to taste

To the already prepared anchovy vinaigrette, add the extra anchovy filets, the capers, and the herbs.

Top with the dollop of mayo and pour in the buttermilk.

Whirl it with your blender, stick blender, or food processor until combined and creamy and the herbs are reduced to flecks.
A little of this over green salads just makes everything pop!  I'm thinking it's going to make a really good binder for egg salad too.


  1. Mmmm, this looks so good. I know what you mean about anchovies. I avoided them like the plague until one day I decided to make an olive tapenade and it called for anchovies. I gave it a whirl and my mind was changed.

    1. Hi Natosha! I also discovered that while anchovies are high in sodium and fat, they're also little powerhouses for vitamins and minerals. So while I won't be overindulging in them they'll make a nice addition to our seafood choices.

  2. Let me know if you would like to have the original authentic recipe for Green Goddess dressing. It was created by Chef Philip Roemer at San Francisco's Palace Hotel between 1915 and 1920,in honor of actor George Arliss, who was staying at the Palace while performing in William Archer's play titled "The Green Goddess." The recipe was given to me by Roemer's daughter. The original is quite different from your version!

    1. I would love to try your recipe! The Green Goddess dressing of my childhood was a Seven Seas brand bottled dressing and probably bore no resemblance to the original either.