It’s summer; its time for Grüne Sosse

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Grüne Sosse with hot boiled potato and hard boiled eggs

Grüne Sosse with hot boiled potato and hard boiled eggs

In the German state of Hesse – and elsewhere – this is the time of year when many restaurant menus will feature Grüne Sosse or Grüne Soße on their menus.

During the last week or so whilst I have been in Hesse, it has appeared on every restaurant, café and hotel menus that I have seen. Extraordinarily popular with locals, this green sauce isn’t just a circle at the outside of the plate in which to dunk a forkful of potato. It isn’t even a generous dollop but almost a whole plateful of the summery stuff.

The sauce is a mixture of seven different herbs – borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley and salad burnet and is then mixed with oil, milk or cream vinegar and other items. It is no good asking which other ingredients because people keep these “mystery” ingredients secret and claim that theirs is the “proper” way to make it.

However it is made, the  Grüne Sosse is served cold, the most traditional way in the Frankfurt area, with lashings of boiled potato and halved hard boiled eggs. That isn’t to say you won’t find it served differently. It may be in a serving jug as an accompaniment to anything; it could be served with pike-perch (another popular Hesse dish) or salmon, trout or even meat. People dipped the bread in it to enjoy every last morsel of the sauce. It wouldn’t even surprise me to see it served for breakfast as an accompaniment to the normal boiled eggs and cured meats.

sausage, onion and grune sosse. Locals have it with anything iit seems

sausage, onion and grune sosse. Locals have it with anything it seems

Because it is preferred when the herb s are growing and fresh, it isn’t usually available outside spring and summer although I am sure that some people make it throughout the year using greenhouse groen herbs that have been carefully nurtured to be available all-year round.

If you travel to Hesse on holiday this summer, try it. It possesses a clean taste that is light and ideal for enjoying on a summer’s day.  And now it’s available in my house as well as we’ve just created our first Welsh Grüne Sosse!

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