Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I ate my share of salads when I was a kid thanks to my home-cooking mom. There were always a slew of dressings on the table from which to choose in our family of six with flavors such as Italian, Ranch, French, Thousand Island, and the like. You know, all those bottled dressings kids enjoy, a sugary-salty sauce to make the salad go down. Blue cheese dressing must have been on the table as well given my dad loves it—though I don’t remember thinking much of it. Smelled funny and looked even worse with its blue-gray tinge, as I recall. Gross.
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties and waitressing at a little pub on Long Island that I fell head over heels with the creamy deliciousness that is homemade blue cheese dressing. That entire summer, my weekly treat was a salad swimming in the stuff following the Saturday night shift. (Wings may also have been involved.) Then I began buying a high-quality store-brand dressing to use regularly on my salads at home
or eat out of the jar.
addiction affection, I eventually stopped purchasing blue cheese dressing. First, the kind I liked was pretty expensive, and I was a poor college student at the time. Second, even if prepared with some heart-friendly unsaturated fats, blue cheese dressing packs a punch at about 150 calories per tablespoon. And it’s all too easy to go overboard, making your salad little more than a blue cheese delivery vehicle. (I’m talking about myself here. Obviously.) For all these reasons, going with olive oil and vinegar or a simple vinaigrette for your everyday salads is definitely a better choice.
Even so, I still find blue cheese dressing sublime and every now and again I’ll make a batch in my own kitchen. While still rich and creamy, my version is lower in saturated fat and calories and a bit lighter on the palate than some given its use of buttermilk and nonfat yogurt. But don’t kid yourself: you’re still tossing cheese in a bunch of fat.
That’s why it’s so friggin’ good.
Blue Cheese Dressing
Ingredients and Instructions
- 4-5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- ¾ cup plain yogurt (non-fat, Greek, or whatever)
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon minced white onion
- 1 teaspoon minced chives
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (fresh)
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Black pepper, several grinds
- Salt, to taste
Stir everything together, taste, and season with a few grinds of black pepper and salt as needed. You might try it without the mayonnaise, too; it’s great either way. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry then adjust ingredients as desired. Want it thinner? Pour in more buttermilk. Thicker? Spoon in more yogurt or mayonnaise. Tangier? Try a few more drops of vinegar. (Fresh lemon juice also works.) Brighter? Toss in a few more herbs. As with all things, make it your own.
What else is there left to say?
Oh, right. Blue cheese also makes a fabulous dip for veggies and other things. Like, for instance, Buffalo cauliflower bites, my recent Super Bowl snack and the inspiration behind this year’s blue cheese endeavor.
However you like to eat your blue cheese dressing, it’s time to ditch the supermarket brand and whip it up on your own. Make it. Make it now.
Just, you know, not all the time.