Saturday, October 1, 2011

Creamy Salad Dressings

I usually prefer vinaigrettes but sometimes a creamy dressing is the perfect compliment.

A dollop of creme fraiche with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt is simple and beautiful on butter lettuce garnished with fresh chives. Here's a couple more favorites...

Ranch Dressing
Nothing like the bottled stuff (which I find inedible), freshly made ranch dressing is wonderful, and for me, a comfort food full of nostalgia. We love it on green salads with lots of vegetables (we got the perfect haul today from Suzie's & JR's Farms: lettuce, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, armenian cuc, broccoli and purple carrots), on potatoes, or as a dip for crudites, sweet potato fries, and even pizza crust. This recipe is also a good example of how recipes can easily be adapted to what you have on hand. I vastly prefer to use fresh ingredients, but dried spices can work in a pinch.

2 - 4 cloves garlic (you could sub granulated or powdered garlic)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sour cream, crema, or crème fraiche (you could even use plain yogurt or mayo)
¼ cup (or more) milk (or buttermilk, half & half, nonfat…)
¼ cup minced fresh herbs (flat-leaf parsley, chives maybe some thyme and dill or sub in dried herbs)
1 green onion, minced (or shallot, red onion or even onion powder or dried onion…)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or vinegar - apple cider, white wine, sherry…)
Freshly ground black pepper

Mash the garlic and salt to a paste with the side of a chef's knife. In a bowl, whisk it together the rest of the ingredients (start with ¼ milk). If it’s too thick, thin with milk to desired consistency. If you use dried herbs/garlic/onion, let it sit for a hour or 2 before using).

Creamy Cilantro Dressing
This one's perfect for any kind of Mexican or "taco" salad. Try it on romaine with diced heirloom tomatoes or salsa fresca, black/pinto/kidney beans and broken tortilla chips.

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon pepitas, toasted
1/4 bunch (or a handful) fresh cilantro
2 oz homemade goat milk ricotta (ideally cotija, but I can't find it local or organic)
sea salt to taste

Blend with immersion blender until smooth.

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