Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Frankfurt’s Green Sauce

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Frankfurt’s Green Sauce

Borage, chervil, garden cress, parsley, salad burnet, sorrel and chives form the herby component of a creamy German sauce you’ll want all of your food to swim in. Because the herbs come prepackaged at produce markets in Germany, you’ll need to improvise and substitute. Below is the translated recipe printed on the herbs package.

Restaurants in Germany, in general, are no friend of the vegetarian. But if Frankfurter Grüne Soße is on the menu, things are looking up. You’re likely to be in Frankfurt, or its surrounds, as the sauce enjoys protected geographical status in Germany and is endemic to this region.

A vegetarian menu item with Green Sauce is typically a spread of boiled potatoes and sliced hard-boiled eggs which, granted, doesn’t sound wildly exciting and, as a South African, can make you blanch when you see the accompanying price. But the herby, creamy lake in which the potatoes and eggs luxuriate more than compensates.

The seven herbs are: parsley, chive, chervil, cress, burnet, sorrel and borage.

The seven fresh herbs of the geographically protected Frankfurter Grüne Soße. (Photo: Christian Wolz)

My Cape Town cooking connection, Sophia Lindop, assures me that sorrel, chervil and borage are available in SA. “Chervil is hard to cultivate, we found. Although you can find them in nurseries, it’s not like you can walk into a store and buy them – they are mainly cultivated at home. Chervil, however, has a small window of availability and every now and then one can stumble into a packet in the Kwikspar.”

She added that she can’t say she’s ever seen cress in South Africa but watercress probably works as a substitute as the flavour is similar. And while she has grown salad burnet, she has never seen it in a shop. It has a “fresh, cucumber-like flavour”.

In general, for the others, chervil, dill and French tarragon are similar in flavour, although chervil is more delicate. Sorrel is very sour and can be substituted with our suurings (SA sorrel), or by adding more lemon.


Longtime Green Sauce-maker Mechtild Wolz’s latest batch in progress. (Photo: Christian Wolz)

200 g fresh green herbs

A variety of add-ins (see method)

Method: Four options

  1. Chop 2 boiled eggs, 1 gherkin, 1 onion and the herbs into tiny pieces. Mix it with one mashed garlic clove, two spoons of mustard, pepper, salt and the grated peel of half a lemon — and mayonnaise or yoghurt.
  2. Three or four boiled eggs, oil, salt, pepper, cream (not sour), lemon juice and the herbs of this package. Create a mayonnaise from yolk and oil, flavour it by using the other ingredients and add the prepped herbs.
  3. Add chopped herbs to mayonnaise and yoghurt, and use salt and lemon juice to taste. Enrich it by adding stewed cold ground beef. Your family will love it.
  4. Try a variation with Smetana (a type of sour cream similar to crème fraîche).

On a personal note:

The herby sauce is usually served with boiled potatoes and/or hard-boiled eggs. (Photo: Christian Wolz)

My favourite German septuagenarian and putative mother-in-law, Mechtild Wolz, has lived within commuting distance of Frankfurt her whole life and is something of an expert in Green Sauce production. She suggests washing the herbs and letting them air dry prior to cutting them into small pieces, adding an extra cress package to her bundle. She then cuts four sweet gherkins into tiny pieces, hard-boils and dices two to four eggs, and mixes in low-fat plain yoghurt, Thomy salad mayonnaise and Miracle Whip in equal measure. Then she sticks the mixture in the fridge to soak. DM/TGIFood


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