June 16, 2009
Green Goddess Salad Dressing

basildressing.jpgI feel sorry for anchovy-haters. I really do. Those tender little fish are so much a part of my cooking that I can't imagine life without them. God help me if some day (due entirely to my consumption no doubt) they end up on the endangered fish list. I would have to move to the coast and start breeding them. They really are the cook's best friend, enhancing an otherwise slightly dull sauce, giving a whack of flavor to a bite of pizza, adding a more complex salty note to roast meats. If you don't like them, you are missing out. And you should look away now, because I am going to present the most amazing salad dressing in the history of...well, this site anyway. It knocks the socks off my diet Caesar's salad dressing, which was my previous favorite salad dressing. And it's lower in Weight Watchers points too. When I finished making it, I licked the bowl, an action that is usually reserved for gravy making and cookies in this household. Not only is it the perfect salad dressing, but I am thinking that if you drained the yogurt for an hour first in cheesecloth to thicken it, you'd also have an ideal dipping sauce for raw vegetables. I know this because I snitched one of Big Brother's carrot sticks off his dinner plate and dipped it in the sauce. Too thin to stick to the carrot stick well, but oh-so-tasty. Anchovies, yogurt, garlic and basil: the perfect partner the lovely salads that are in season or the new vegetables that are just starting to appear. Even tired old carrots will get a lift!

* This dressing, by the way, bears only the vaguest of resemblance to the commercial dressing of the same name. Both are green. Both have garlic. And both - heaven help me - are beloved by yours truly. Actually, I haven't tasted the commercial version in a few decades so that last one may no longer be true. But when I was a young lass, I used to drown my salads in it and would have happily eaten it straight from the bottle if my mother let me!

Green Goddess Dressing Serves 4 (.5 WW points per serving, 1.5 total)

In the interest of Truth and Full Disclosure, I do have to admit that this dressing does have one teensy drawback. Neither raw garlic nor anchovies benefit from being stored once they have been put in a dish or sauce. The garlic will go from being pleasantly sharp to overpowering and the lovely anchovy flavor will just seem fishy. So I would not recommend storing it in the refrigerator more than 24 hours, and even then I would highly recommend adding another teaspoon or two of lemon juice to refresh the flavors and tone down the garlic. Taste and use at your own risk! Better still, do like I did and use it all up in one go. After all, the entire dose is 1.5 Weight Watchers point (.5 per serving if you divide it in four generous portions)!

1/2 a pot of low fat plain yogurt
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
4 small spring onions
1/2 a small tin of anchovies (If you are an anchovy lover and use the remainder to garnish your salad it will only add one point - or use a couple of them to garnish the sauce if you are making a crudités dip. I like to warn guests about the presence of anchovies in this way when we have people over for dinner or drinks!)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Rinse the anchovies and add them, along with the rest of the ingredients, to a mini-blender or mini-food processor. Whizz on high until smooth. Taste for seasoning: it may need a little more lemon juice or a dash of pepper. It probably won't need salt. It will need to be consumed immediately. Enjoy!

Note: to make a dipping sauce, as mentioned, put the yogurt in cheesecloth and suspend above a bowl for an hour or two before continuing with the rest of the ingredients in the blender. This would be lovely on carrot sticks, lightly blanched cauliflower or broccoli, cucumber, peppers, just about anything!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at June 16, 2009 10:00 AM Print-friendly version

WOW Meg, how cool! I have always thought you were a fabulous cook and a great writer!! I've printed out the receipe and definately am going to try it out! Please post some more!

Posted by Juliet Upton on June 18, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Hey, Juliet, glad you like it! Although my posting has slowed down to once every week or two, there are about 2000 recipes in the archives. The more recent ones are mostly diet-conscious because I've been on the Weight Watchers program, but the rest are all full fat and indulgent. (Which is why I'm on WW, incidentally...!) Hope you enjoy the dressing - I really did think it was fabulous!

Posted by Meg in Sussex on June 19, 2009 at 3:35 AM

At our work place we've developed a regular Thursday lunch bunch with the other engineers... I was a late-comer to the traditional weekly lunch, so by the time I joined up they were used to ordering in shorthand: "I'll have the G-13, please." The two favored destinations are a horrible Mexican place (cholesterol alert, Dive, Dive!) and a Vietnamese place. It was while seated at the Vietnamese place that Leonard, who is from south-east Asia, revealed what exactly is in the fabled fish sauce: fermented anchovies!

Big Brother, who on the advice of his doctor has given up on butter.

Posted by Big Brother on June 28, 2009 at 11:43 PM
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