Food & Drink

The Condiment that Vivian Howard Would Save in a Fire

She calls the herby, zingy dressing her “Little Green Dress”

Photo: Baxter Miller

“The hero that makes my heart beat fast, the one I would rush in to save from the flames if my house were burning down, is Little Green Dress. Also affectionately known as LGD, this little number is like chimichurri and salsa verde had a baby in a bed of olives. LGD is condiment, ingredient, texture, acid, herb, oil, and salt all at once. Like the little black dress that’s your sure thing, LGD is pretty much perfect for every occasion. 

This recipe is specific in calling for a certain variety of olive, shallots instead of onion, and a particular hue of vinegar. But know that it is LGD’s equation that makes it heroic, not its details. To make your own variant of LGD, you need fresh, fragrant herbs; something onion-esque; the combined brine power of olives, capers, and anchovy; the juxtaposed acid of both vinegar and citrus; and the fruity fat of a good-quality olive oil. Don’t get hung up on the variety of vinegar you don’t have or the fact that you’ve got onion and no shallot. Just follow the equation and taste what happens.” —Vivian Howard in her new book, This Will Make It Taste Good, which shares her secret-ingredient tricks like this go-to sauce, dressing, and condiment. She uses it in her recipe for these Gas Station Biscuits.


    • 2 medium shallots, peeled

    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

    • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

    • ⅔ cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted

    • 1½ tsp. capers, rinsed

    • 2 oil-packed anchovy filets

    • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 cup packed)

    • 2 (½-ounce) packages fresh mint (about ½ cup packed)

    • ½ cup tasty extra-­virgin olive oil

    • Grated zest of 1 lemon

    • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

    • 1 tsp. hot sauce

    • ½ tsp. kosher salt


  1. In a small food processor, mince the shallots and the garlic, then stir them in a small bowl with the red wine vinegar. We want them to pickle a bit, so give them all some privacy for about 20 minutes before you add them to the rest of the ingredients.

  2. Meanwhile, mince the pitted olives, capers, and anchovies in the food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pick the leaves and smaller stems from the parsley and the leaves from the mint and mince in the food processor; it may take a little while to get them all fully processed. Transfer the herbs to the bowl with the olive mixture.

  3. Add the vinegar-shallot-garlic mixture, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce, and salt to the bowl with everything else. Stir it all together and let this vinegary puddle of green sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before you bathe in it. LGD will keep for a month in a sealed container in your fridge as long as all the green stuff is submerged in just a bit of olive oil.

Excerpted from This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian Howard