Friday, November 16, 2012

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

I was just about to say that blue cheese isn't something I've always liked, that it's something I've acquired a taste for as I've gotten older. I realized I've said that a few times here on the blog. It's funny how your tastes change as you get older. Now if only I could develop a taste for fresh tomatoes! Ha! Anyway, I didn't start liking blue cheese until three or four years ago and it all started with a bite of a friends's Blue Cheese Wedge Salad while we were out to dinner. It was a wedge of iceberg lettuce, drizzled with blue cheese dressing, topped with crumbled bacon and more blue cheese (hold the tomatoes, obviously). It was divine. Heaven on a plate I tell ya. So what did I do after having a bite of this salad? Decide I need to make it at home, of course!

So, I went in search of a recipe. This was pre-Pinterest for me, so I browsed all kinds of different recipes from Ina Garten, to Alton Brown and the winning recipe came from Martha Stewart. I liked the use of buttermilk, and the addition of chives and shallots. The use of celery salt seemed a little different to me, but I followed the directions to a "T" and let me tell you, it's perfect! So don't omit the celery salt.

Now, I personally like a more mild blue cheese so I tend to use Gorgonzola, but definitely use whatever you like! If you're new to blue cheese, Gorgonzola is a great place to start. We don't always serve this dressing as a blue cheese wedge salad. Actually more often than not, we eat it over romaine or red/green leaf lettuce.

 I also wanted to mention a few changes you can make here. If I don't have chives or shallots on hand, I just substitute 1/4 cup of finely diced onion. If you're out of lemon juice, use vinegar (apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar, etc). And if you forgot to buy buttermilk, you can make your own! Here's how: Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

So there you go, lots of easy substitutions, and hints on how to ease yourself into liking blue cheese :) I hope you'll give this a try, it really is delightful!

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot, I sometimes use 1/4 cup of finely diced onion in place of the shallot and chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, I've used vinegar in a pinch
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 cup crumbled domestic blue cheese, Gorgonzola is my favorite

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, shallot, chives, lemon juice, coarse salt, pepper, and celery salt in a small bowl. Fold in blue cheese. (I just shake everything up in a jar. Saves on dishes, and it's ready to store!) Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.

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