Chef Joseph’s Kitchen of History: Green Goddess Dressing

My June presentation “Created in San Francisco” was so successful, we decided to turn it into a monthly newsletter column. Each month, I’ll give you a locally created recipe and the story behind it. If you have any local food stories or recipes to share, please email them to sffoodsafari@gmail.com.

This month’s selection is Green Goddess dressing, which I served at the June meeting. Created at the Palace Hotel by Chef Philip Roemer in the 1920s, Green Goddess dressing was a tribute to actor George Arliss who starred in the William Archer play The Green Goddess, which had a successful run in San Francisco. The hotel still serves the dressing in the Garden Court Restaurant on its legendary seafood salad. It was also served at the San Francisco restaurant Salmagundi (where I would make it five gallons at a time), and in the early 1970s, Seven Seas created a bottled version. Kraft Foods now owns Seven Seas, and the dressing can be hard to find. It is still made in limited quantities, although the company has been purchased by Kraft Foods.

Original Palace Hotel Green Goddess Salad Dressing Recipe

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. I found that it tastes better and isn’t so thick if you increase the lemon juice and vinegar to ¼ cup each. Also, the flavors are enhanced if it’s refrigerated overnight.

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Chef Joseph’s Kitchen of History: Cioppino

What says San Francisco more than cioppino (except sourdough bread)? This savory seafood stew is a Fisherman’s Wharf favorite, and was invented in San Francisco. As is typical with food stories, the dish is steeped in mystery and numerous origin stories exist. One story is that it was created at Fisherman’s Wharf in the ‘20s or ‘30s. Refrigeration was not as good then as it is now, and whatever the fishmongers had leftover at the end of the day could not be sold the next day. Legend has it that someone would make a big pot of tomato sauce and call out for the fishmongers to chip-in what they had left for a communal meal. However, with his Italian accent, it sounded more like “cheep-een-ah,” which would end up being spelled cioppino when they would later put it on the menus of the restaurants that replaced the fish stalls. Another story goes that when the fishermen were at sea in the late 1800s, they would make a stew for their dinner from whatever they caught by chopping it up and throwing it into a pot of tomato sauce. The recipe for that was derived from an Italian stew called ciuppin, which means, “to chop.” Whichever story is correct, cioppino was the first dinner I ate during my first visit to San Francisco as a seven-year-old child, and still remains my favorite San Francisco dish. I would often make it for my father on Father’s Day, as a thank-you for introducing me to this classic.

Cioppino

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 large sweet onion chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes

2 cups fish stock

2 cups red wine

1⁄3 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp. each dried oregano and dried basil

1⁄2 tsp. red chili flakes

1 bay leaf

1 dozen clams in shell

2 cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2 lbs. each), cleaned and cracked

1 lb. large shrimp (21 to 30 per lb.), peeled and deveined

1 lb. firm-fleshed fish (like halibut or salmon), cut into 1-inch chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stir oil, onion, garlic, and 2 tbsp. parsley until onion is transparent, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes (with their juice), stock, wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and red chili flakes. Bring to a boil over, then cover and simmer over low heat until for about 15 minutes.
Add clams and crabs. Cover and bring to a boil again over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp, cover, and simmer until clams finish popping open, shrimp turn pink, and crab is hot, 6 to 9 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard any clams that have not opened. Serve in bowls with lots of warm sourdough bread on the side.
Serves 6-8

Garlicky Brisket with Sauerkraut and Tomatoes

5 lbs. brisket
1 head garlic
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 large can sauerkraut, drained
1 large onion
paprika
black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and slice garlic. Take brisket and slice pockets into the non-fat side throughout. Place slices of garlic into the pockets. Place brisket into uncovered Dutch oven or roasting pan and sear for 15 minutes on both sides in oven and remove. Lower oven temperature to 325. Place roughly chopped onions in bottom of Dutch oven or roasting pan and place brisket on top, fat side up. Pepper to taste. Cover liberally with paprika. Place chopped tomatoes on top of brisket, and juice in the pan. Place sauerkraut on top of tomatoes. Cover Dutch oven or roasting pan and bake at 325 degrees for 2 1/2-3 hours. Remove from oven and slice thinly against grain. Mix remaining ingredients together. Separate liquid from solid and serve separately, with the brisket slices placed in the juices to keep them from drying out.

Chicken Paprikash ala Chef Joseph

1-lb chicken breast or thigh cut into cubes
1-large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
6-cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1-large red bell pepper, cored and chopped
1-lb mushrooms, sliced—I prefer crimini
1-14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1-cup red wine
2-tbl sweet paprika
1-tsp dried basil
1-tsp dried oregano
1-cup sour cream
1-tbl Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or large frying pan, cook chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat until opaque. Remove chicken from pan, leaving the oil. Add more oil as necessary, and sauté onions, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms until soft. Add remaining ingredients (including the chicken), except the sour cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the sour cream and stir well. Increase heat to medium until warmed through. Serve with rice, egg noodles, or spetzel.