In Frankfurt, green sauce (grune sosse or grüne soße in German) is ubiquitous. The somewhat tartar-like sauce with a ton of herbs magically manages to be refreshing and hearty at the same time. Simple boiled vegetables like potatoes and broccoli get a serious upgrade with a dollop or two of this stuff–add a slice or two of ham, and you have a complete, satisfying meal. In this adapted version, I use common ingredients (think Greek yogurt instead of quark) and fewer herbs (bye bye, borage and burnet), but the bright, herby and hearty sauce comes out pretty close to the real deal.
A few years ago, we spent a couple of nights in Frankfurt on the way to and from a year-end vacation in Paris. One night, we went to an apfelwein inn where we sat on a communal bench, elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike, drinking from a beautiful ceramic jug of the German hard cider. It was a cold winter night but inside the warm, steamy inn, the atmosphere was jovial and convivial, just as I’d imagine an old roadside inn serving locals and travelers hundreds of years ago.
I had a giant plate of schnitzel with boiled potatoes, topped with a local green sauce. A delightfully bright, herby and creamy sauce made with (I guessed) sour cream and a ton of herbs, the sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the earthy potatoes and hearty schnitzel. Apfelwein kept flowing, our tummies got full, and we trekked back to our hotel happy and satiated.
When Hubby picked up a can of genuine apfelwein from a beer store nearby, all this fond memory came back, and I had to make some schnitzel with this green sauce to go with the cider. I got a-Googling. As it turned out, the Frankfurt-style green sauce contains a hard boiled egg, which gives the sauce a subtle savory body and extra richness, similar to how boiled eggs work in tartar sauce.
I also found out that the green sauce calls for quite a few types of herbs, some of which I hadn’t even heard of. Since I didn’t want to end up with a fridge full of wilting herbs, I decided to get just a couple: Watercress, which is easy to consume in a salad; parsley, which can go into a stock or chimichurri sauce; and chives, which is totally versatile. Despite the omissions, the sauce came out pretty close to what I remembered. I love this sauce!
There are so many possibilities with this sauce:
- The first night, I served it traditional, with boiled potatoes, broccoli and a chicken schnitzel (that uses mustard instead of an egg as the coating agent, a neat trick I learned from Blue Apron).
- It’s fantastic as a sandwich spread. I made a ham sandwich with cucumber and lettuce on bread smeared with this sauce for a hiking lunch, and it was glorious.
- It would be lovely on top of potato pancakes, in place of sour cream.
- We made a tasty New Year’s Eve appetizer of smoked salmon and cucumber on crackers with a dollop of the green sauce. Nom nom!
Any other ideas?