If you are ever at a party with a bunch of chefs, and you need some sort of ice breaker comment, just make a joke about ranch dressing. It’s a guaranteed laugh… sort of an inside joke with food service professionals.
Ranch dressing started it’s rookie career on top of salads and veggies, but as it climbed the ladder of condiment success, it now partners with stars such as pizza, chips, even burgers and fries. Ranch dressing has taken over.
Ironically, we never ate ranch dressing here at the ranch. I think it was invented on a ranch in Hidden Valley, and I’m not sure where that is. It’s Hidden.
But using buttermilk as a vegetable dressing is plausible as standard country fare, as it would have been kept in a country kitchen, waiting for the right dish to come along. Since we are now in the habit of making old fashioned jocoque here in our ranch kitchen, making ranch dressing seemed like an obligation. A happy obligation.
So, I threw together a quick vegetarian fiambre, which is a cold Guatemalan salad usually enjoyed around All Saints Day. Fiambre usually includes cold meats and cheeses, but I kept this one light, with snow pea shoots, and some interesting looking veggies. Cubes of feta made a nice addition too.
I like serving vegetables as an appetizer as they are never too heavy, and you get that tedious salad course out of the way. I like sitting down to a hot meal, and not lingering over the cold stuff to long. Or you can always do what the French do, and serve the salad at the end of the hot meal. I do that too.
If you opt out of making home made jocoque, simply use cultured buttermilk that you can buy at the store, or use non-fat plain natural yogurt. And if you think of it, make the dressing in advance, so the flavors have time to marry and cure. Every dish tastes better with a little added time .Print
½ cup jocoque or cultured buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives
4 oz feta cheese cubes (112gr)
2 cups arugula leaves (40gr)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (250gr)
1 cup snow pea pod shoots (20gr)
1 hot house cucumber, sliced
For the dressing, whisk together the ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator until ready for use
For the salad, simply arrange the ingredients on a platter, serving the dressing on the side.
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