Wednesday, March 23, 2011
If you ask around, it's pretty hard to find someone who truly doesn't like ranch dressing. We may turn up our noses at it as junk food - something kids use to mask the flavor of vegetables and dip their pizza in - but secretly, we all have to admit we like the tangy, creamy flavor.
When Hidden Valley Ranch first hit the market back in the 80s, it was a packet of dehydrated seasonings and buttermilk powder that you mixed with your own mayonnaise and milk to make your own "fresh" dressing.
Fast forward a couple of decades, I found this truly fresh buttermilk dressing recipe on the old Gourmet website, and marveled at how much it tasted like good old ranch. I hadn't made it in a long time - but then last week we were having some friends over, I had pulled some baby carrots out of the garden, and I had some sweet little radishes, cauliflower and romanesco from the farmers market - so I thought a crudite with homemade dressing would be just the thing. I whipped up a batch of this and sure enough, it was a hit with kids and grownups alike. For the dip I used a healthy dollop of sour cream with just a splash of buttermilk - you can adjust as you see fit.
Either way, it's something everyone will love, and nobody will be ashamed to admit it!
Basil Buttermilk Dressing or Dip
adapted from Gourmet, January, 2005
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
this is great with crudite, and would also be fantastic on tomatoes or over an iceberg wedge. Just add crumbled blue cheese and leave out the basil the to turn it into blue cheese dressing!
2 fresh, juicy garlic cloves
Rounded 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (I use Hain)
1/3 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 to 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
a few grinds of pepper
Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt using large heavy knife (or in a mortar and pestle.)
Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, basil, and garlic paste in a small bowl. Add enough buttermilk to achieve desired consistency - a little more for a dressing, less for a dip. Add two or three grinds of fresh black pepper.
Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop.
Keeps, refrigerated, for about three days.