Mainly this is just an excuse to post a picture of a beautiful salad.
There wasn’t much to it: some greens, chives, really good tomatoes, boiled sliced new potatoes, and pickled onions. But it sure was pretty and tasty. One thing I’ve discovered recently is that certain husbands are much happier to eat salad if the dressing is ranch instead of a vinaigrette. Another thing I’ve discovered is that replacing the garlic in any ranch recipe with garlic scapes is a beautiful thing. Somehow it elevates the dressing from a dip for chicken fingers to a really special sauce.*
I had been making a riff on the Pioneer Woman version, but I recently discovered this Food 52 recipe with basil, and I’m a convert: http://food52.com/recipes/22308-basil-buttermilk-ranch-dressing. It’s lighter on the mayonnaise and sour cream, but packs a ton of flavor with the addition of shallots and basil. Until a few months ago I hadn’t really made a ton of ranch so I was following recipes (which is never fun for me). Now that I’m a dozen or so takes in, I think (as in most cases) the parsley does nothing for me and I will double the chives next time. Also, I’ve been using Trickling Springs sour cream and buttermilk which makes a huge difference, but next time I might make the mayonnaise as well.
We served the whole thing with a beautiful sliced New York strip covered in shallot butter (this would have been better on the grill I think, but we found a fledgling on the back patio and didn’t want to upset it before it learned to fly away). I love when a quick weeknight meal feels special.
*Not to say that I have anything against typical ranch dressing. I may have actually had it shipped to countries where I couldn’t buy it when I lived abroad.