The Traditional German Green Sauce Dish (Frankfurt-style)
“GREEN SAUCE” – A RECIPE INTRODUCED BY MIGRANTS 2.000 YEARS AGO
The basic Green Sauce recipe is probably from the Near East and, as such, is probably at least 2.000 years old. Roman legionaries brought it to Italy, from where it was exported to France and Germany. Evidence suggests that it was introduced in Kassel by the Italian trading families Bolongaro and Crevenna around 1700.
A possible origin of the German variant are French Protestant immigrants emigrating to Kurhessen in the 18th century. The German variant uses a different mix of local herbs, since Mediterranean herbs were not available in Germany more than 300 years ago.
The German “Grüne Sauce” is therefore related to the Italian Salsa Verde as well as to the French Sauce Verte. The latter again inspired the creation of the “Californian Green Goddess Dressing”.
GERMAN-STYLE “GRIE SOSS”, LOCAL VARIATIONS AND UPGRADES
Grüne Sauce is a specialty of the German state of Hesse. Centres of popularity are the cities of Frankfurt am Main (where it is sometimes called “Grie Soß” or “Grie Soss”) and Kassel, which lay claim to its origins. The Frankfurt-style is made exclusively from seven fresh herbs, namely parsley, chives, chervil, borage, sorrel, garden cress, and salad burnet together with sour cream, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and added hard boiled eggs.
Variants of other local areas, often due to seasonal availability, include dill, shallots, lovage, lemon balm, and even spinach. In more frugal times, daisy leaves, broad plantain leaves, and dandelion leaves were also used.
While both Grüne Soße and Mayonnaise have an egg base, there are major differences. In Grüne Soße, the eggs are hard-boiled, then sieved or pureed before being mixed with sour cream to form the creamy base of the sauce. The fresh chopped herbs are then added. Some variations use buttermilk, quark, or yogurt instead of sour cream. In the city of Kassel, a combination of sour cream and Schmand is used.
The sauce is served cold with peeled boiled potatoes or just with rye bread, as an accompaniment to either hard-boiled eggs or roast beef brisket.
It may also be served with cooked fish or roast beef, or as a side dish to barbecue. A local schnitzel specialty, called Frankfurter Schnitzel, is always served with green sauce, along with apple cider (Apfelwein) as a traditional accompanying drink.
By the way, Green Sauce was supposedly Goethe’s favourite condiment; a legend that his mother invented it is likely apocryphal.
The local importance of the dish is shown by the abundance of green sauce at local markets and by the Green Sauce Monument installed in Frankfurt-Oberrad in 2007. The latter consists of seven small greenhouses with the main herbal ingredients and was part of the Luminale, a local art and light event.
Packages with herbs for Green Sauce that are available on regional, weekly markets
In many Hessian families, Green Sauce is part of the traditional meal eaten on Maundy Thursday, relating to its German name Gründonnerstag (literally Green Thursday).
RECIPE OF FRANKFURTER-STYLE GREEN SAUCE
Ingredients (4 servings):
2 large egg yolks (hard-cooked)
1 tablespoon oil (walnut or other neutral oil)
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2/3 cup quark
2/3 cup Greek yogurt (full cream; of course, you are free to use low fat products as well but fat is a taste-enhancer…)
2/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
10 to 12 ounces fresh herbs (roughly equal amounts of parsley, cress, chives, borage, salad burnet, sorrel, chervil– see Variation above-mentioned)
Dash freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or to taste)
4 potatoes (in their jackets)
8 large eggs (hard-cooked)
Step No.1 In a medium bowl, mash the egg yolks with the oil and mix to form a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice.
Step No. 2 Mix in the quark, yogurt, and sour cream. Add the herbs and then season to taste with pepper, salt, and lemon juice.
Step No. 3 Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until herbs are reduced to very small pieces and cream is bright green. You can choose to sieve the mixture into a bowl to remove large pieces of herb or egg yolk.
Serve cold over hot, boiled potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. For further inspiration, please find a few green sauce dishes below…
GREEN SAUCE IS NOT SHY AT ALL
The traditional sauce is in fact very chummy. Nowadays, there are many green sauce combinations / “updated” dishes served…
Green Sauce Mousse
Green Sauce Potato Nests
Green Sauce & Beef
Smoked salmon & potato pancakes with green sauce
Green Sauce (possible upgrades: garlic & Avocado) on roasted / grilled bread
Spaghetti with chicken and green sauce
Striped luce ravioli served with green sauce
Schnitzel (cutlet) with Green Sauce
Mushroom-Michel (casserole) with green sauce
Ice cream (made of green sauce) accompanied by white chocolate mousse
Well, basically People from Hessen are shameless and drown everything in green sauce.
Healthy living People, vegans and vegetarians love this regional specialty in particular. The Sauce contains a lot of proteines, many vitamines (the fat content of Joghurt is required to solve / digest the vitamins provided by the fresh herbs) and can be served to many low carb & fat dishes. The sauce is also used as an ingredient of casseroles and as a dip for all kinds of vegetable, kebap or cheese sticks.
…And you can put it on your face as an anti-aging mask too! No! I am just kidding… 😉