By Will Werner
This robust dressing works great whether you are dressing a wedge salad, tossing this with romaine or dunking your favorite chicken wings in it. I use Bay Blue from Pt Reyes Farmstead Cheese for the base flavor. This is supplemented with a bit of Rogue Creamery Smokey blue from Oregon to add extra richness and crumble on the top when serving a salad. And to top it off, we mix some smokey Nueske’s bacon to give it a bit of crunch and garnish the salad with it. You can mix and match cheeses to your preferences - if you want a more assertively “blue” salad, use Roquefort or a Stilton (or Bayley Hazen) instead of Bay Blue.
For a salad, you can’t beat topping it off with some sliced crisp apples, a sprinkling of dried cherries and a handful of candied pecans. But if you are just using it as a dip, grab some wings, carrots or fingers and get to lickin!
- ½ C Buttermilk - (I like Guernsey not only because it is made in Michigan but also because it is free of stabilizers or thickeners. Just 100% tangy buttermilk and it lasts for many weeks in your fridge.)
- ¼ C Mayo
- ½ C Bellewether Farms Creme Fraiche (if you don’t have creme fraiche, you can sub sour cream)
- 6-8 oz Pt. Reyes Bay Blue
- 3-4 oz Rogue Smokey Blue
- ½ lb Nueske Bacon - Crisped and chopped
- 1-2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce (Of course we are partial to Black Sheep Barrel Aged Worcestershire)
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper and salt to taste
- 3-4 sprigs chopped parsley
- Optional -
- 1 thinly sliced green onion
- Dash or two of sugar if you want the sauce to be a touch more balanced between sweet and salty.
Additions for a salad
- Crumble 75% of the Bay Blue and about half of the Smokey Blue
- In a medium bowl, whisk or stir together the cheese, mayo, creme fraiche and buttermilk
- Add about half the zest of the lemon and half of the juice, mix to combine.
- Taste it! At this point, you should have a pretty yummy mixture but tasting before proceeding to the next steps will help make sure you are fine tuning the dressing for your palate.
- After tasting, add the onion powder, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce, tasting after each addition. You may find that after adding the Worcestershire sauce, you don’t want any more lemon. I prefer this to be slightly tangy so I added all the juice.
- Add in about half of the chopped bacon, parsley and green onion.
- Taste it again!
- After this tasting is when I add a touch of salt or sugar to balance if it is needed.
- Once the dressing is to your liking, Dress the salad lightly at first (or just say screw it and pour it on thick - there is a time for a lightly dressed salad and there is a time to get on the flavor train. To me, underdressing a blue cheese salad is like sending a kid wearing shorts and flip flops outside to wait for a bus in January. It’s not just unwise, but borders on criminal negligence).
- To finish the salad, toss in some sliced apples, you can mix them in with the greens or just lay them on top, sprinkle on the rest of the bacon and add the cherries and pecans if you wish.
This works great on dark leafy greens, butter lettuce or the classic iceberg wedge. I can’t really get my wife to eat iceberg lettuce though so if we do a wedge, we often use romaine hearts as opposed to iceberg. Still plenty of crunch, but you feel a bit more like you are eating a salad rather than just using lettuce to drink the dressing. Though… if you do want to drink it, just make sure no one sees. I won’t tell.