This salad is the only one a cowboy will ever order out here in the wild west. We took a friend of mine from France hunting scaled quail and at the local Mexican restaurant, he was ordered a salad. The waitress asked, “What kind of dressing would you like?” He replied, “Vinaegrette.” She said, “We don’t have that.” He then said, “Alright, just some oil and vinegar then.” The waitress said, “We have French or Ranch.” He replied, “French.” He was disgusted to find that the ketchupy “French dressing” was nothing he had ever seen in France. The next day, he ordered ranch like the rest of us. Upon returning to town, he was offered a dozen different dressings, but still none of them oil and vinegar. I suggested the mustard poppy seed dressing, seeing it as the most similar to his familiar French vinaegrette. He refused and ordered ranch. I asked, “So you like ranch now?” He said, “No, but at least I know what to expect now,” with a grin. Sometimes food is not about experimenting, it’s about what we learned to expect and cowboys expect Iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing.
FOR THE RANCH DRESSING
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt To Taste
- 1/4 cup Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives
- 1 cup (Real) Mayonnaise, such as Helman’s
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- Buttermilk (as Needed To Desired Consistency)
- White Vinegar (optional, To Taste)
- Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste (optional)
- Fresh Dill (optional, To Taste)
- Cayenne Pepper (optional, To Taste)
- Paprika (optional, To Taste)
- Fresh Oregano (optional, To Taste
- Tabasco (optional, To Taste)
Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about an 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of salt on it and mash it into a paste with a fork. Chop the herbs very finely and add to the garlic. In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding other optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.
FOR THE SALAD AND TO ASSEMBLE:
Serve over a head of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters (one-quarter for each plate), after removing the core with small diagonal cuts. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
VARIATION FOR BLUE CHEESE DRESSING INSTEAD:
In a food processor, mix 1 c. mayonaisse, 1 c. blue cheese, 1/4 c. buttermilk, 1/4 c. sour cream, 2 T. lemon juice, and 1/2 t. Worcestershire.