Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sweet Pickle Ranch Sauce


Printable version
I have been using packets of ranch seasoning mix in a number of salads and sauces lately and for this recipe I was inspired by a tomatillo ranch dressing that I recreated after trying it at a local restaurant called the Salsa Grille in Fort Wayne. I use many of the same elements but I exchange the tomatillo for sweet bread and butter pickles and add some of the pickle brine for extra flavor pop.

The end result is a sauce that has the zesty ranch flavor along with the sweet but tart flavor of the pickle. It’s an amazing enhancement to any burger, and personally, I loved it on steak tacos and quasadillas. It’s really a universal sauce that is also good for dipping fries and even dressing salads.

Recently I took a jar of this to my family campground and busted it out for a late night snack of leftover burgers. My cousin put a little of it on his sandwich to start. Each time he took a bite, he put the burger down and spooned more of the sauce onto it. There was a point that I thought he should just take a bite of the burger then do a shot of the sauce to chase it down.

That's how it is with this sauce though, it has an addicting quality that leaves you almost craving it. I think it’s the pickle ranch combination because they are two flavors that really grab the taste buds.

BEHIND THIS BITE
I have made more sauces and rubs this summer than I ever have and I seem to be accumulating lots of unique jars and bottles to store them in. Last Saturday I went to a mall on the Southwest side of Fort Wayne and visited two of my favorite stores, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma. When I left I had enough jar and bottle space to make about 23 pounds of rubs and 60 gallons of sauce.

With canning season just around the corner both stores had some really cool stuff on sale, especially Williams-Sonoma, they seems to really be dialed in to foodies like myself because they always have the coolest stuff for the kitchen, BB&B is also good, but not quite at the level of Williams-Sonoma.

When I got home I literally had to do a spring cleaning to find room for my new jars and had to make a commitment not to buy any more until I have used the ones I have now at least once. That vow stands for new jars, I’ll still buy a unique jar or two at a garage sale or flee market because those you might never see again, and I can always smash a couple of the store bought jars to entertain my nephews if I need to make room for some one-of-a-kind garage sale treasure.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Makes 1 quart;
10 minutes (2 hours resting)

1 C Buttermilk
1 C Mayonnaise
1 C Cilantro fresh
1/2 C Sweet pickles, diced
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix (1 oz)
1/4 C Juice from sweet pickles
1 clove Garlic

Blend, refrigerate
In a blender place buttermilk, mayo, cilantro, pickles, ranch seasoning, pickle juice and garlic. Blend until smooth. Pour into a jar, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld. Use as a dressing or condiment.

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