While I have certainly been enjoying the summer market bounty in the form of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries), peas (sugar snap, english shelling) and beans (favas), I think that the best part about summer is the salads. I really do enjoy a salad with my dinner and sadly most of the year this means produce that had to be trucked many miles (probably from California, bagged) and it inevitably is tasteless and a little disappointing. But for a few months out of the year, everything is different.
My salad spinner is bursting with lettuce from one of my favorite farmers. Cucumbers are unwaxed and don’t have to be peeled. Carrots with their tops still have a little dirt on them that once scrubbed off, reveals a vibrant orange with a sweet crunch. Radishes in all shades of red, pink and purple (I didn’t even know that I liked radishes until this year!) Tomatoes that taste like the sun. Early bell peppers that are tiny and purple.
It is wonderful. But I think that I am enjoying my summery salads even more after discovering this *absolutely perfect* buttermilk ranch dressing recipe. Anyone that is from TX knows that there are two kinds of ranch: good ranch dressing and really, really bad ranch dressing.
A perfect example of really, really bad ranch dressing is Hidden Valley. It really should be called “The Original Bad Ranch.” It bears no resemblance to the real thing. Some of my favorite ranch is on the Chef’s salad, all beef brisket from Pappa’s BBQ in Houston (try dipping the brisket in the ranch….amazing). Texans also know that you really can dip anything into good ranch (pizza, fries, fried okra, the list goes on).
It is no surprise that the Homesick Texan has hit the head of the nail with this recipe. It is really, really good ranch. I have made a batch once a week to keep in a jar in the fridge to drizzle over my nightly summery salads. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
From The Homesick Texan
This is an extra spicy version-leave out the peppers and cayenne if you are a
wuss prefer things mild)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 serrano pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and let chill for an hour so the flavors can meld.
Makes 1 cup, keeps for a week in the refrigerator.
Add more mayo if you like your dressing thicker and if you want a sorta spicy version, use a jalapeno instead of a serrano.
I’ve heard that some people think that cilantro tastes like soap (and I feel sorry for you because cilantro to us normal people is really awesome) so use parsley instead.
Note: I take the Illinois Bar Exam in a mere 16 days so my posts might become sporadic (or really frequent if the lack of motivation hits me before the utter fear). So please excuse me if I am not responding to your questions, comments or posts with regularity