Bib Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato and Crumbled Organic Egg with Green Goddess Dressing
By Heidi Allison
Some salads are light and delicate, served as the prelude to a meal. Others, like this one, are hearty meals in themselves. The chilled, poached shrimp and crumbled hardboiled egg supply the lean proteins, while the tender lettuce
, crisp, sweet, anise-flavored shaved fennel, spicy, bitter radicchio
, rich, creamy avocado
and bright, sweet grape tomatoes
provide a variety of flavors and textures, which grab your attention. This elegant salad is focused and balanced— a deeply satisfying dish.
What binds it all together is the Green Goddess dressing— the iconic California salad dressing that spread like wildfire in the 60s and 70s. It was created by the executive chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 as a tribute to an in-house actor starring in the hit play, The Green Goddess. In its original incarnation, relied on only 2 herbs, parsley and chives or scallions, for its herbaceous flavor notes, lemon juice and white wine vinegar as its acid, anchovies and a hefty amount of mayo and sour cream. It was an instant success. Since then, the recipe has been updated, and the hotel currently serves a Green Goddess dressing that omits the mayo and sour cream as its base, using corn oil and egg yolks to create a creamy emulsion. Two herbs—chervil and tarragon— were added, in addition to capers, spinach, Dijon mustard, garlic, sugar and shallots. The acid, imported French tarragon white wine vinegar, further supports the dominant flavor note of this rendition — tarragon. Great choices for showcasing the restaurants famous Dungeness crab salad.
This recipe simplifies the ingredient list yet allows the tarragon to take center stage. A complex herb, tarragon has a sweet, anise-like taste with subtle notes of fennel, licorice and vanilla. It is also a pungent herb, and must be used correctly, or it will impart a bitter taste that overpowers a dish—measure accurately since a little goes a long way. Though this salad can be made and served immediately, the dressing is at its best when allowed to develop its flavor for several hours in the refrigerator. It will also thicken up. If too thick, thin with a bit of water.
Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 cup good-quality mayo (Hellman's or Best Foods)
3/4 cup basil
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
3 green onions
, white and green parts, sliced
Leaves of 6 tarragon
3 white, imported Italian anchovies, packed in oil
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
, about 2 Tbs.
1/2 tsp. kosher flake salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 head butter lettuce
, leaves separated
1 pound cooked, chilled medium-sized shrimp
1 fennel bulb
, trimmed and shaved
1 small radicchio
, sliced 1/4-inch thick
10 grape tomatoes
1 Hass avocado
, pitted, peeled and sliced
2 organic eggs, hardboiled, yolk and whites separated
Place mayo, basil, parsley, green onion, tarragon, anchovies and Meyer lemon juice in to a Ninja bullet or blender and puree until smooth. Add sour cream and pulse until just incorporated. Taste to adjust for salt, adding a pinch more if needed.
Place dressing in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and into the refrigerator for several hours to allow the dressing to thicken up and flavors to meld and develop.
Place butter lettuce leaves on the perimeter of 2 serving plates.
In s a separate large bowl, add shrimp, fennel and radicchio. Drizzle 4 heaping tablespoons of dressing over shrimp salad and toss to combine.
Mound equal amounts of shrimp mixture over lettuce in the center of the plate. Place 5 tomatoes and avocado slices along perimeter of shrimp mixture.
Crumble yolks and whites of hardboiled eggs between your fingers over shrimp mixture. Top with freshly ground (coarse grind) black pepper and serve immediately.