Iceberg wedge, homemade ranch dressing, light summer fruit and vegetables

Avocado drenched in lime juice to preserve its color for hours. Peppered heavily separately from everything else.

The dressing does not touch any of the other elements. That happens at the table by each individual diner. They control the mixing of dressing to element so they can enjoy pristine version of each fruit or vegetable unadulterated with dressing, then discover the fantastic combinations on their own. Besides the homemade dressing, this keeping things untouched is what makes this salad such fun. 

The dressing is 50% mayonnaise 50% sour cream. That is a whole lot of blandness that needs something to kick it up. Hard. Usually blu cheese will do that, but there is no blu cheese around here right now so the creamy substances, both with touches of acid already in them are loaded up heavily with fresh herbs.

Chile flakes are added for their capsaicin heat. That is unusual for ranch dressing. You do not see chile peppers in recipes for ranch dressing, but I like chile in everything. Chile peppers are like wine, they make everything better. But the cream completely overwhelms the capsaicin molecules, covers their jabbing points rendering them harmless. The molecules do not prick, they fail to lodge. So the amount or red flakes shown above is doubled. 

Even that can not be tasted nor felt, so two serrano chiles are diced and added. Now, altogether that is quite a lot of chile heat added to ranch dressing that usually does not have such heat, and they too are rendered powerless by the two heavy creamy substances. Such a disappointment. Their flavor is barely perceived and none of their heat.

Heavy cream is added to thin the dressing so that it pours instead of clumps, but the acids contained within both mayonnaise and sour cream turn heavy cream thick in an instant. It does nothing to thin the mixture although it dilutes it and extends it, so plain milk is added and now the mixture is doubled in bulk. Herbal, and harmlessly not at all hot as intended.

Not shown: seedless cucumber cut into rectangle shapes. Although seedless they still do have incipient nascent seeds held in a watery core. That is the substance in cucumbers that makes people burp, so the cucumbers are cored. Rather, the dense portion is cut away from the  core lengthwise then chopped into large pieces.

Not shown: Mango. The seed of a mango is a large flat disc. The mango held upright and cut vertically the knife sliding down each side of the seed. A very small portion of fruit can be recovered from two uncut sides of the seed, but not much. The two large lens-shaped fruit portions are sliced into three long pieces making the removal of peel much easier to manage. Then the six wedges are cut into vague cubes.

Pecans are toasted to near extinction so that they veritably dissolve in your mouth. 

Croutons are not my favorite thing to toast, but they are one of my favorite things to eat. This salad would be much less interesting without them. They contribute textural variation. These croutons are made of my own rye bread. The bread is 50% rye flour 50% all purpose flour, plus the fortification found in brioche, eggs, milk, and butter.  Its flavor is excellent but the loaves do not rise very tall. It is dense somewhat crumbly bread. It makes outstanding heavy and satisfying sandwiches although rather small. The only way to get the loaves taller is include higher proportion of all purpose or bread flour and I am unwilling to sacrifice flavor. 

I love this salad. It is a 100% win. There is no doubt in my mind why it is an award-winning combination. The award being $100.00 gift certificate to Whole Foods from an appreciative guest from this small dinner of twelve people, short version here, extended version here and here.


Trooper York said...

What a great salad, I will make it this weekend when I have time to gather the ingredients.

Chip Ahoy said...

Thank you, Trooper. I have grapes right here that would have worked. Cherries too. I wonder why I didn't think of those.

I purposefully omitted tomato because I have those all the time in salads.

For the party I made a quart size mason jar of dressing with Maytag blu cheese. Used only half. The guests argued about who was to keep the remainder. They left me out because I can make it any time I like, and there went my jar. And those jars cost, like what, a dollar, a dollar fifty? pfffft.

Trooper York said...

I wonder if the dressing could work with yogurt instead of mayo.

I am experimenting with yogurt based dressings blended and liquefied.

How about a strawberry, balsamic, yogurt dressing?

I want to try that tonight.

Trooper York said...

I think the Greek cucumber dill dip I have been enjoying at the Greek restaurant will also work pretty well as dressing if I mess around with it a little.

Chip Ahoy said...

Yogurt will definitely work. Tzatziki
Yogurt herb dressing

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