Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Last summer David Leibovitz posted a recipe for Green Salad with Peas, Green Beans, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and it changed my salad eating days. In general I prefer to make my own dressing but have stuck to simple vinaigrettes. I almost never made a creamy dressing but something about this recipe spoke to me.

This dressing makes me want to eat salads. It seemed I couldn't make enough. I shared it with friends and they went through it just as quickly. The great thing is it's easy to put together. It's a matter of chopping a few fresh ingredients and combining it with buttermilk, mayonnaise, and seasonings.

There are only two small things I changed. The first is not using real buttermilk. My market carries quart size containers of buttermilk and I couldn't use it fast enough before it went bad. Yes I could use it for baking but that's honestly one of the last things I wanted to do in the middle of summer. So I make a quick homemade version buttermilk by adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk. The taste is a little different from real buttermilk but I don't feel like I'm wasting anything.

The second thing I changed was to put all the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up rather than whisking it in a bowl. I measure the liquid ingredients right in the jar and then add the remaining ingredients. At first it seemed like the jar was too full but it all combines very well when shaken.

Unlike bottled ranch dressing, this one is thinner but it packs so much more flavor from the fresh herbs, shallot, and garlic. For me, it deserves a sturdier lettuce like iceberg or romaine. After that I combine whatever vegetables and ingredients I have on hand. I've made a version of a wedge salad with tomatoes, bacon, and blue cheese as well as a cobb salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and turkey.

Now that it's summer I'm back to my favorite dressing and eating lots of salads!

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Modified slightly from David Leibovitz

½ cup buttermilk (*see note below)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a pint-size mason jar, add all the ingredients. Cover tightly and shake to combine. Taste and add extra salt, if desired. The dressing can also be whisked together in a medium-sized bowl.

*To make your own buttermilk mix ½ cup milk with 1½ teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes before using.