Monday, June 20, 2011

Basil Ceasar Dressing and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

I've been making salad dressing forever.  I grew up tossing balsamic vinegar and olive oil together for the simplest of Italian vinaigrettes. Really, salad dressing is easy to make at home and SO much better for you than the stuff you buy in a bottle.  The blue cheese dressing was inspired by looking at a bottle in my pantry and counting 37 ingredients, many of which were artificial additives or preservatives.  Yuck.  My dressing has 5 ingredients.  All of which you have can pronounce and would want to eat.  I love it as a dip for veggies, on a salad (of course!), and my favorite- dressing a blackened steak sandwich along with sauteed onions and peppers.

The caesar dressing came about because my hubby loves caesar salad, but I find it a bit boring.  My search for a better version ended with this dressing, which is a cross bewteen the traditional caesar dressing and a basil pesto.  It's fantastic on a salad of romaine, grilled chicken, and homemade croutons.  You may find a couple of the ingredients a bit scary- it has anchovies in it and a raw egg.  But don't worry, these days, the risk of salmonella from raw eggs is very low.  If you're worried about it, you can use a pasturized egg substitute, but it's not really necessary.  And the anchovies are a must.  You don't taste them, there's nothing fishy about the dressing.  But they add this salty earthy flavor (that is in the traditional caesar), that you would miss if they weren't there.  Trust me.

Basil Caesar Dressing
Adapted from Epicurius
2 garlic cloves
1 large egg
1 tbs anchovy paste or 4 oil packed anchoivies
2 cups basil
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
1/2 cup olive oil

Put all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Blend until finely chopped.  Add the olive oil and blend until smooth.

Blue Cheese Dressing

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (I use Stilton)
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 mayonaise
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs buttermilk*

In a medium bowl, mash the blue cheese.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.
*If you don't have buttermilk hanging around your refrigerator, you can make a quick substitute by measuring out regular milk instead of the buttermilk, then adding a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let that sit on the counter for about 5 minutes and you've got a decent substitute for the tangy buttermilk.

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