Monday, May 07, 2012

Smashing Green Crudite with Green Goddess Dressing

We had a Marvel superhero movie marathon to celebrate the release of The Avengers. I came up with this all green display in honor of The Hulk. This would also work for any other event where green would be appropriate: St. Patrick's Day, Earth Day or to support your favorite team. Let's start with the Green Goddess Dressing.

Back in the days before Ranch Dressing, it was the most popular salad topping in America. Often it came bottled with a bit of green food coloring to reinforce the green. I settle for using herbs for green flecks.

Let us begin in the herb garden. Here we'll get tarragon, chives and parsley.

We're going to chop those herbs finely. You can use a knife, but I find snipping them up with a small pair of scissors works very well.

For our dressing, we will need: 1/4 cup chopped chives, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup chopped tarragon, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 anchovy filet. (optional, but worth it.)

Our dressing base will be 1 cup of Mayonaise and 1 cup of Sour cream.  Let's start with the Mayo.

If you are using the anchovy, stir that into the mayo first. It will pretty much completely dissolve with a good whisking. If you are squeamish about anchovies, I say try them. you will be amazed at the salty complexity they bring to food. But if you don't want to, that's okay. Then add the sour cream and all the other ingredients and just combine it all thoroughly. Then salt and pepper to taste. Put that creamy mixture in the fridge to meld. For a minimum of a couple of hours, even better overnight. Now on to the veggies.

Here we have snow peas, asparagus and green beans. Trim the beans and cut the tough ends from the asparagus. Now my trick for making veggies extra delicious: A brief bath in hot water.

Get a big pot of hot water boiling.

Also get a big bowl of cold water ready.

Drop your veggies into the water. Do them separately. Only one kind of veggie at a time.

Let them boil for about a minute. We aren't cooking them. Just giving them a good blanch. Then using a slotted spoon or one of these wonderful strainers I got at a kitchen supply store, get them out fast and into the cold water to stop the cooking.

Once they are good and cooled off, remove from the water and dry thoroughly.

Then you can either put on a serving platter or into a storage container to chill until you're ready to use. You can do the rest of your green veggies in the same pot of boiling water, though you'll need to refresh the ice water to keep it cold. This works great with green beans, snow peas, broccoli and carrots. Don't reuse the water for foods of different colors. If you're doing broccoli, do it last. It can give off a strong taste. Don't let anything go for more than a minute or so. We're just brightening the colors and making them a bit tender. We still want crunch. Things this will not work for are celery, cucumbers or bell peppers. Leave them good and raw.

For this platter, I also sliced up cucumber spears and celery sticks.

Here are the veggies heaped on a serving platter. Notice how bright green they are?

The cucumbers went into a green glass and I put the celery leaves in a vase for show.

I found green tortilla chips at the store. (Guacamole flavored)

I served my Salsa-mole for dipping.

I found this beautifully sharp basil-infused British cheese. It was nice to find a green cheese that wasn't some form of bleu cheese. I thought the cheese was crying out for fruit, so I served green grapes along side.

 The Green Goddess dip was a big hit.

Pretty Smashing.

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