Sunday, May 19, 2013

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Ranch is about the most ubiquitous dressing in the world today.  Take a quick glance at the salad dressing aisle at the grocery store and you will find a veritable sea of ranch dressings, replete with different brands, different variations, and different flavor combinations.  Sadly, most of them are at best quite bland, and worst case, downright unpalatable. 

It wasn’t always like this.  There was a time when ranch dressing was meant to be made fresh at home, without the preservatives, artificial flavorings, etc that appear in the bottles (and even the seasoning packets) on your grocer’s shelves. 

Ranch dressing was indeed invented on a dude ranch, the Hidden Valley, in the early fifties by the owners of the ranch.  

It proved quite popular, and the ranch began selling bottled versions, then later, a packet of seasonings meant to be mixed with buttermilk and other fresh ingredients at home. 

Ranch really took off in the Eighties, when Americans began slathering it on everything from French fries to breadsticks to cute little cut-up veggies served on party trays.  The problem is that in order to make a more shelf-stable product, the recipe in the commercial version of ranch dressing has devolved over time so that, yes, it probably has the shelf-life of canned Spam, but all this at the expense of flavor and freshness.

Well, I’ve got good news for ya, ranch lovers.  You can make your own ranch dressing at home in minutes with fresh, natural ingredients and it will have a taste like you will not believe.  It will be the most tangy, savory, succulent ranch dressing you have ever had. 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 Cup Well-Shaken Buttermilk
½ Cup Mayonnaise
½ Cup Sour Cream
3 Tablespoons Chopped Italian Parsley
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Chives
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1 Whole Garlic Clove, Crushed
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Add your wet ingredients to a food processor and pulse to incorporate.  

Make sure you use real Mayo for this and not Miracle Whip or a similar Salad Dressing. Also, get the best, freshest buttermilk you can find. 

Next, add your fresh herbs and then the dry ingredients.   

Run the food processor for 30 seconds to a minute, just until the herbs are chopped up finely and nicely 

Taste the concoction and adjust as necessary with additional salt or herbs. 

Seal up the dressing in a Mason jar or similar and refrigerate a few hours to let the flavors meld.  

Then serve away.  The dressing should stay fresh and tasty for three to four days in your fridge. 

Here we’ve served it with a nice Flatiron Steak salad.

Until next time,

Happy Trails, Pardners!