I had planned to make a Spanish side dish for today, a punchy little Catalan number of roasted vegetables inspired by my recent trip to Barcelona. I did make it, actually. Barely serviceable, and certainly not the fireworks-level excitement I was aiming for. Alas.
So instead, I’m sharing the most American thing I can think of off the top of my head: buttermilk ranch dressing.
Which works since I’ve had salad on the brain lately, big leafy jobs dressed in a creamy, garlicky dressing peppered with fresh herbs. No frou-frou, dainty-lady salad. I want a salad with some oomph to it, that can stand up to barbecued meats, a salad that tastes just right outdoors on a summer night. As it turned out, this buttermilk dressing hit the exact notes I was looking for, creamy and tangy and cool. I piled Boston lettuce with red onions, crispy bits of bacon and slabs of heirloom tomato for an all-American salad to serve alongside herbed grilled chicken and berry cobbler. Add crumbles of blue cheese to turn it into another classic dressing, and serve over wedges of iceberg with lots of cracked black pepper.
adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, 2010;
makes about 1 1/4 C dressing
- 3 scallions, white and light green parts only
- 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
- 1 tsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 C mayonnaise
- 1/2 C Greek-style yogurt
- 1/4 C buttermilk, more if desired
In a food processor, blend the chives, scallions, parsley and garlic. Scrape down the sides and add the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and salt. Add the mayo, yogurt and buttermilk. Adjust the salt and lemon juice to your liking and thin out with buttermilk as is your preference. Refrigerate until needed; keeps about one week, though the herbs may darken.
Variation: add about 4 oz (3/4 C) crumbled blue cheese for a classic blue cheese dressing.