Thursday, June 25, 2009

What to put on all those salads...

The creamy dressing on a salad of lettuce, peas and radishes with sausage/broccoli rabe/ricotta pizza.

In our house we have a small culinary fissure. It's too small to call a rift, but the crack is there. I am a vinaigrette woman. Brian is a creamy dressing man. He'll tolerate vinaigrette, but prefers something a little less sharp with a bit more heft and mouth feel, while I am all about the acid/salt/olive oil combo. I can't stand commercial creamy dressings because to me they taste like white melted plastic (Oh, OK, I admit it. Every once in a while I have a trashy craving for crap blue cheese dressing on top of iceberg lettuce, but I think of that like a craving for potato chips--junk food.)

Since this is salad season and I'm eating salad for lunch, snack and dinner, I figured I could be a little generous with the guy and make a creamy dressing that he'd like and that I'd find acceptable and by some miracle of confluence, my first attempt came out well! I rummaged in the fridge and chucked a bunch of stuff in the blender and it made Brian so happy that the next day I attempted to reproduce it and actually measure the quantities and it still turned out well.

So now we have an alternative to my bottles of pungent vinaigrette and I confess that this dressing actually is better paired with the soft, delicate lettuces (our beloved Tantre green frillies) that are available now. I'll save the vinaigrette for the romaine and sturdier varieties.

Creamy Salad Dressing
This is a flexible recipe--it should accommodate a variety of substitutions and variations. Don't have buttermilk? Try plain yogurt. No garlic scapes? A whole clove or a shallot should do fine. The key is to tasting it and adjusting it along the way.

juice of one lemon (or use about 2-3 T red or white wine vinegar)
1 garlic scape, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (or one shallot, or one garlic clove)
the greens of one big or two normal sized scallions
3/4 C buttermilk
1/2 t salt
1/2 C silk tofu
1/4 C mayo
1 T chopped fresh dill (or use about 1 t dried or substitute another herb--I bet tarragon would be great)
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 t anchovy paste
1 t Dijon mustard
lots of fresh ground black pepper

Whir it all up in your blender until it is smooth. Taste and adjust so it suits your palate. Like it a bit heavier? Add more mayo or silk tofu. Sharper? Add more vinegar or lemon juice. More pungent? Add more garlic, scallion tops and/or anchovy paste. You get the idea.

1 comment:

Jen said...

It looks lovely, Kate. Two other dressings that you both might like (and uber easy) - vinaigrette mixed with Trader Joe's European style lowfat yogurt, and salsa blended with sour cream and a little buttermilk.

We certainly need lots of dressing up for those greens!