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Grilled Summer Vegetables with Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess is one of those culinary relics that walks lonely in the cook’s creative collective unconscious, just waiting to be plucked from the ether of culinary legacy and given a spot once again on a menu, says Chef Barton Seaver. Once one of the most popular preparations in American gastronomy, it has fallen victim to the generational subjugation of taste preferences, but it is a gem that deserves a more permanent place at our tables. This dressing is equally good with any food, from fish and vegetables both raw and cooked, to chicken and large roasts, so go ahead and make a big batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (2 oz.) oil-packed anchovies
  • Leaves from 8 fresh tarragon sprigs
  • Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 zucchini or yellow summer squash
  • 1 large onion (preferably red, but sweet varieties also work
      well), peeled
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, anchovies (including their oil), tarragon, parsley, scallions and lemon juice. Puree until the sauce is smooth and has a brilliant green hue. Not all the herbs will break down completely, so there will be some green specks, but this is fine. Refrigerate the sauce for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day for the flavors to marry.

Cut the zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick slices on a bias. Cut the onion and fennel into 1-inch wedges, keeping the root end intact. Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Toss all the vegetables with the olive oil and season generously with salt. Let stand for at least 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some of the liquid in the vegetables.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill.

Working in batches and starting with the fennel and onion, grill the vegetables directly over the heat, rotating them after a few minutes to get attractive hash marks. Flip them over and place them on the cooler side of the grill. Repeat the same process with the zucchini and eggplant, in each case cooking until they’re just tender.

Transfer the vegetables to a platter and arrange them attractively. Serve immediately, with the dressing in a bowl alongside or drizzled over the top. Serves 4.

Adapted from Where There’s Smoke, by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, 2013).