The Green Goddess at Cambridge’s Blackshop!

The Green Goddess at Cambridge’s Blackshop!

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I’ve had green goddess dressing twice in the last several months. What?

Certainly not the green fairy that was once the moniker for absinthe, this classic — and, despite these encounters, somewhat forgotten preparation — is a 1920s dish that likely originated at San Francisco’s regal Palace Hotel (the original of which was destroyed in a fire caused by the 1906 earthquake).

Culinarily, it is a simple creation of mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar (and tarragon itself), anchovies (so important to rich umami flavour in many dishes), parsley, chives, scallions and garlic. As you can imagine, it is quite green. It is also goes with fish and shellfish quite nicely.

The hotel kitchen purportedly created the salad to honour English actor George Arliss who was appearing in a play in San Francisco called The Green Goddess. Arliss then reprised his role as the Rajah of Ruhk in the 1930 movie (which I’m sure had several unfortunate biases and racial stereotypes), which was a remake of a 1923 silent film. It turns out that Arliss won a nomination for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” for his performance. (Incidentally, he later won an Oscar for the movie Disraeli and was the first non-American to do so.)

The photo herein is not from Cambridge’s Blackshop! Restaurant and Wine Bar; however, the Blackshop! on Hespeler Road does serve a green goddess salad of baby kale, tomatoes, radish, cucumber, hard-boiled egg and a buttermilk green goddess dressing.

It seems to me that this delicious and easy-to-make dressing and sauce should be something to try at home.

[ Image/Foodista via Wikimedia Commons ]

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