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Dinner was to be salad and the salad was almost ready. But the salad was naked, undressed.

“Find me a buttermilk dressing,” Suzen said.

She speaks, I obey. It just works better that way. I did a little Googling, and found “the recipe.” This recipe appears on many, many sites, most of which do graciously acknowledge Ina Garten's creativity in first concocting it. She is the “buttermilk salad dressing recipe” maven.

Here are Ina’s ingredients:

  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek-style yogurt, such as Fage Total
  • ½ cup buttermilk, shaken

I showed it to Suzen.

“Oh, this has buttermilk,” Suzen noted. “I told you blue cheese.”

Now, this is where you have one of those turning point moments in life. You can say, “No, you distinctly said buttermilk.” Or you can say, “I’m sorry. Let me look for blue cheese.”

I did not say I was sorry, but I did say something about blue cheese.

“And,” she spoke as I returned to the computer, “find something with fewer ingredients.”

As popular as Ina is, so is Alton Brown. Here’s his blue cheese salad dressing recipe, like Ina’s from the incredible Food Network web site, and which just does happen to include buttermilk.

I did not point that fact out to Suzen.

But I will point it out to you. You have two lists of ingredients here and you can easily mix and match to come up with your own combination of buttermilk and blue cheese plus other things. Suzen did that a bit, for I saw salt deployed and lemon juice instead of vinegar. We did not write it down, the recipe is lost in time, but I’m sure we’ll come up with another winner next time.

For a “simple” salad that is to be your entire meal, the dressing must have impact. The double bite of blue cheese and buttermilk does provide an intensified jolt to your mouth. When you want “just” a salad, but in your heart you really want satisfaction, then this dressing, some iceberg, tomatoes and onions are the definition of completeness.


Blue Cheese Dressing from Alton Brown

Yield: 1 ¼ cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Put the Gorgonzola in a small mixing bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper and whisk to combine. Serve or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week

Source: Alton Brown [The Food Network, 2010]

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑1600