When someone asks you to “just bring a veggie tray”, what do you think of? I think of dried out carrot sticks, and boring but dependable ranch dressing. With graduations, end of school year parties, and Memorial Day get-togethers, May is often the busiest month – sometimes even surpassing December! And someone always gets stuck with bringing the veggie tray.
Next time: LET it be you. Volunteer, in fact! With minimal effort on your part you can bring a veggie tray that is both beautiful, and delicious. I’ve got four tips, and one delicious recipe to offer you.
Make Your Next Veggie Tray with Green Goddess Dressing
- Live on the edge, and be a little spontaneous! Rather than making a shopping list of the veggies you need to buy, go to your grocery store or farmer’s market, see what’s in season, and purchase what looks good. Let that thought, and what your market has to offer, guide your purchases.
- Choose bright, contrasting colors. Think a little outside your usual box. Carrots are fine, but what about some bright red radishes? Maybe some sugar snap peas? Those miniature, bright colored peppers are beautiful, and don’t even need to be sliced, stemmed, or seeded!
- Make a glorious mixture: everything doesn’t have to be segregated! Arrange your vegetables in such a way that the colors and heights are mixed and varied. Variety is the spice of life and your veggie tray can show off the bounty that nature offers us.
- Bring a fresh, homemade dressing, to really wow folks. And try something other than ranch for a change.
And now, I give you a recipe for that homemade dressing. As long as I’m encouraging you to mix things up a bit, how about trying your hand at a homemade salad dressing that you may never have tried to make before? I promise, it will only take you five minutes to make, and the taste is out of this world! I love fresh tarragon (like in a chicken salad, or in a creamy pan sauce) so I decided to try making this dressing that features it. I myself had never made it before, even though I’ve heard of it since I was a child: Green Goddess. Back then, it was made and marketed by a company called Seven Seas.
Green Goddess dressing was originally made in San Francisco, at the Palace hotel, in 1923, in honor of an actor who was in a famous play called The Green Goddess. I found my recipe for it my yellow Gourmet cookbook, and only altered it slightly. I added more tarragon than the original recipe called for, and used white wine vinegar rather than tarragon vinegar.
The recipe calls for anchovies, and I knew I had a can, and decided to sneak some in to see if my family would notice. What I’ve heard about using anchovies in cooking (especially in dishes where the anchovies are heated and cooked), is that they add a depth of flavor, but don’t taste fishy. Well, no one detected them in my dressing (and everyone in my family is VERY sensitive to “fishy” smells). I thought they added just a bit of saltiness and depth of flavor, and I would definitely use them again. However, if you are opposed to the addition of anchovies, by all means, LEAVE THEM OUT. It will be fine! You might want to add a little more salt, but that’s the only difference it would make. In any case, you should always taste a salad dressing or vinaigrette that you’ve made before you serve it, and if it tastes flat, add a bit more salt and/or pepper.
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
1 c. mayonnaise
3 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
1 chopped green onion
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. chopped fresh chives
1 T. chopped fresh tarragon
1 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Purée all ingredients in a food processor for several seconds. Taste, and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Have you ever had homemade Green Goddess Salad Dressing before?
Pin this recipe on Pinterest, so you’ll have it handy when you’re the one who’s been asked to bring a veggie tray to your next get-together. Or share it on Twitter, or on Facebook!