Necessity -- or is it forgetfulness? or humidity? -- being the mother of invention, this cucumber ribbon salad owes its spectacular ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing to a great pantry, and to my strong desire not to drive five miles to the grocery store for a quart of buttermilk on an unbearably hazy-hot-humid day. Powdered buttermilk, a baking pantry staple that will keep perfectly happy in the refrigerator for months, contributes the characteristic tangy ranch flavor, with a boost from Greek yogurt and a small amount of mayonnaise. I like the combination of dill, parsley and chives from my garden for a vibrant herby punch. The overall result? Delicate, much more so than traditional ranch dressing. I'm planning to use the leftover dressing on grilled salmon. The cucumber salad didn't last much longer than the time it took to photograph it. I ate it for breakfast. All of it.
Cucumber ribbon salad with ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing
Makes 1-1/4 cups dressing. Salad serves 4.
For the salad:
1 large seedless (English) cucumber, or several small seedless cucumbers
1 tsp kosher salt
For the buttermilk herb dressing:
2-1/2 Tbsp powdered buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp Colman's (dry) mustard
2 heaping Tbsp fresh dill
2 heaping Tbsp flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp roughly chopped chives
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
Cut the cucumber into 6-inch pieces, and slice the pieces lengthwise on a mandoline; if you can set the thickness, set it at 1/8-inch to make thin ribbons. Place the cucumber ribbons in a colander, and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Set the colander over a bowl, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off the excess salt, and dry with a clean dish towel. Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl.
In a blender, combine all of the buttermilk herb dressing ingredients. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water (use less for a thicker dressing). Whiz until the herbs are chopped and the dressing is thoroughly incorporated. Pour as much as needed over the cucumber ribbons, and reserve the rest in the refrigerator for another use.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Moroccan cucumber salad with herbs and olives
Japanese cucumber ribbon salad
Raita (Indian yogurt and cucumber condiment)
Southern buttermilk biscuits
Cool-as-a-cucumber smoothie with Greek yogurt
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sweet and spicy cucumber salad with fresh dill, from Pinch My Salt
Asian cucumber salad with cilantro and Vidalia onions, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber herb buttermilk soup, from Sassy Radish
Watermelon and cucumber with buttermilk ranch dressing, from The Merlin Menu
Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce for fish, from Salad in a Jar
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