Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.
In the pantheon of sandwiches, those made from Thanksgiving leftovers reign supreme. (Sorry fried chicken sandwiches. I’ll always love you!) My family takes our next-day sandwiches so seriously, we put the turkey basting and pie decorating on pause to whip up a condiment for the next day. Yes, we prep for our leftovers, and no, we’re not crazy. We just know a turkey sandwich enhanced with green goddess dressing is worth it.
For the uninitiated, green goddess is a vibrant and garlicky dressing that (probably) originated in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It combines a prodigious amounts of herbs like chives and parsley with salty anchovies and a creamy base, often mayonnaise and sour cream. The bright green hue suggests it is healthy. I assure you it is not. However, it is unquestionably delicious—and a recipe that’s been passed down in my family for at least three generations. (The food-spattered recipe cards suggest longer, but nobody can remember for sure.)
Once you acquire a taste for green goddess dressing you become insatiable, which is probably why a romaine salad drenched in the stuff became a staple on my family’s Thanksgiving dinner table years ago. One day, in a stroke of genius, someone added the extra dressing to their next-day leftovers sandwich. It was perfect! We collectively lost our minds.
Turkey has a nasty habit of drying out even when beautifully brined and roasted. Constructing a sandwich with cut up, day-old meat on crusty bread only worsens the dryness, which is why true sandwich heads know that it’s critical to introduce something creamy to keep things delicious. Ross and Monica had the Moistmaker—an unholy marriage of turkey and stuffing joined by a thick slice of gravy-soaked bread. I admire their boldness, but frankly, green goddess dressing is the only way to go.
The Moistmaker introduces wetness and doubles down on flavors already existing in the sandwich, but green goddess adds herbaceous creaminess and the perfect amount of tang, fortified with some anchovy funk. It elevates Thanksgiving leftovers into something truly special—but of course, no one in their right mind wants to cook (or do dishes) the day after Thanksgiving. That’s why it’s important to carve out a small section of Thanksgiving prep time to make the dressing. Use it in a salad if you like, but my family hasn’t made that romaine salad for years. We save all that beautiful dressing for the leftovers. It’s worth it.
Get a green goddess dressing recipe here: