Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chipotle blue cheese dressing



This time of year, when most days it’s too darn hot to stand in front of the stove, let alone turn on the oven, I start eating a lot of salads. Namely one salad—my BLT salad with chipotle blue cheese dressing.

Blue cheese dressing was something I avoided for most of my life, probably because I was only exposed to inferior bottled versions, which can often be too sweet or have a rubbery texture. A few years ago, however, I was at a dinner party and my friend had made a batch of blue cheese dressing.

His intent was for us to use it as a dipping sauce. It was certainly thick enough for the job, and yet it was also light enough that it could glide onto salad leaves without weighing them down. As for the flavor and texture, the balance between the pungent, salty blue cheese and creamy, tangy dressing was perfect. I had no idea blue cheese dressing could be so good, and I’ve been a convert ever since.



When he shared with me his recipe, I tinkered with it just a bit. I love how smoky flavors complement blue cheese’s salty bite, so I stirred in some chipotle powder for both its smoke and its heat. To cut through the dressing’s richness, I added splash of white wine vinegar, though I reckon red wine vinegar or lime juice could work just as well.

As for my BLT salad, some may know it as an iceberg wedge. This classic dish, comprised of blue cheese dressing and a thick slice from a head of iceberg lettuce, has been around since at least the late 1800s. It’s long been a staple at both steakhouses and diners, and is one of my dad’s favorite things to pair with chicken-fried steak.

Sure, some may find iceberg lettuce reminiscent of a time when people sacrificed flavor for convenience, but in the summer it’s one of my favorite things to eat. While the thick, crisp leaves may lack a strong flavor, it’s this quality that makes it a terrific vehicle for a robust, heavier topping. Throw in some crumbled bacon and a ripe, juicy tomato, and you have a refreshing, filling dish.



I’ve convinced myself that eating this salad is a spot healthier than eating a BLT sandwich, since you don’t have the calories and carbohydrates from the bread. But I don’t enjoy it for health reasons; I love it because it’s quick and cool. And if you don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen, this salad will definitely satisfy.

Chipotle blue cheese dressing
Ingredients:
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled and divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons buttermilk, plus more if needed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo*
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream or thick, Greek-style yogurt
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
Place the half the blue cheese crumbles, mayonnaise, buttermilk, garlic, paprika, chipotle chile powder (or canned chipotle chile), and vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the sour cream and remaining blue cheese crumbles. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste.

If you want a thinner dressing, stir in more buttermilk until it’s the desired thickness.

Yield: about 1 cup

Note: Use one chipotle chile in adobo, not a WHOLE can!

BLT salad (Iceberg wedge with bacon and tomatoes):
Ingredients:
1 head of iceberg lettuce
8 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup diced red, ripe tomato
1 cup chipotle blue cheese dressing

Method:
Cut the iceberg lettuce into four wedges, lengthwise. Place each wedge on a plate, and top with crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes and chipotle blue cheese dressing.

Yield: 4 servings

Related posts from around the web:
Blue cheese dressing from David Lebovitz:
Bacon and blue cheese wedge salad from Ezra Poundcake
Crisp lettuce wedge salad from The Perfect Pantry

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38 comments:

Eccentric Kitchen (Steph) said...

This sounds delicious! I am def bookmarking this.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I love the idea of taking a classic like this and just upping the ante a little! The chipotle is a great idea...

Celeste said...

Awww, this reminds me of my father in law who used to make us each a jar of homemade salad dressing to take home at Christmas time. I need to make us some and this is a great idea for how to use it in steamy weather.

flowercityfoodie said...

I have never been a fan of bleu cheese dressing either, but that's probably because I've only been exposed to mediocre ones. I love the idea of adding chipotle!

Frankie said...

I'm a total glutton for blue cheese dressing! How long would this hold up in the fridge do you think? I'd love to make a big batch and have it in arm's reach all the time.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Eccentric Kitchen--Enjoy!

Rocky Mountain Woman--Well, I have been accused of adding chipotle chiles to just about everything. It's definitely one of my favorite spices!

Celeste--What a great memory!

Flowercityfoodie--It can be a bit strong, but this version is more creamy than pungent.

Frankie--It will last a week or so in the fridge, that is if you have any leftover!

Carrie said...

I can't wait to make this! I love blue cheese and I can't get enough chipotle in my life.

Molly said...

Oh boy, oh boy. Smokey and tangy and crispy. I think we've covered the major food groups in this post. Sign my up. Yes, please!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Carrie--I'm with you!

Molly--Smokey is definitely one of my favorite food groups!

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

I shouldn't have read this at almost midnight, when I can't run to the store and get beefsteak tomatoes and the ingredients for this dressing. Now all night I will DREAM about this salad. Seriously. I will.

I love bleu cheese. It's been a life long love affair. One my husband neither understands nor shares. But at least he doesn't get in the way of my relationship with it. Lucky for him.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Cheri--You sound like me--I often read about something delicious before I go to bed, and then dream about it all night!

mjbateman said...

Lisa, what brand of Blue Cheese do you use?

Yvette said...

OH WOW! Now this looks divine. My hubby LOVES a yummy wedge salad and I love the chipotle addition. I will be adding this to our cookout menu this weekend. YUM!!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Yvette--Hope y'all enjoy it!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

MJBateman--Danish blue is good, as is Maytag.

Little Black Car said...

Hungry's in West U (Houston) does jalapeño blue-cheese dressing that's pretty good, too, FYI. I think I might like chipotle a little better, though.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Little Black Car--I don't know, Hungry's jalapeño blue cheese dressing sounds pretty terrific, too!

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

Great blue cheese dressing is a rare thing. And you're right, very rare. I love the idea of adding a bit of smoke and spice.

LisaA said...

The addition of chipotle chile to blue cheese dressing is genius! Your recipe also made me think of Rogue Creamery in Oregon, which makes a spectacular Smokey Blue Cheese as another variation. Lord knows it's delicious in smokey blue cheese scalloped potatoes.

shipwrekkt said...

Perfect! I am getting so sick of my usual salad dressings and I bring a salad to work with me almost every night! Do you think I could use canned chipotles in adobo sauce instead of the powder?

lisa is cooking said...

Yep, it's definitely salad season, and I was late in coming to appreciate blue cheese dressing too. I'm a convert now though, and the added chipotle sounds great. Can't wait to it!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Katie--Smoke and spice really jazz it up!

LisaA--Yes! I love that cheese but it's difficult to find in NYC. Thank you for reminding me about it--I'll have to see if I can get some!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Shipwrekkt--You could totally use a canned chipotle. I'd start with one and blend it at the beginning with the other ingredients.

Lisa is Cooking--It seems lots of people are late to it--must be either the flavor is too strong or there's a lot of bad versions out there!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the few places where you can actually get away with reduced calorie mayo--I also reduce both the mayo and sour cream very slightly and add more buttermilk to my bleu cheese dressing--been making it with this half mayo and half sour cream recipe for decades. I haven't tried the chipotle before, but since I always put the leftovers from a can into the freezer, I've an unlimited supply and can shave off a tsp or so--can't tell you how much I love a bit of chipotle added to so many recipes.

Pepper Ann said...

I am now in England and wanting to set up my own house here with familiar things. Can you tell me what your cutlery is? is there a particular name or brand I need to search for? Thank you from a Central Texas gal!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--good to know!

Pepper Ann--Most of my cutlery is hand me downs or from flea markets--I don't know what brand they are!

Andi said...

The lettuce wedge and bleu cheese combo was my dad's favorite. We always thought he was bizarre. Who knew he was ahead of his time!

Thanks for sharing. Looks wonderful!

Lea Ann said...

I've got a really good home made blue cheese dressing that is so close to yours, can't wait to add some chipotle to it. Love the idea and thanks for sharing.

Jacob Fain said...

I find myself returning to this page everyday so I can look at this stunning picture of the Duke of Salads.

BAM said...

I was first introduced to the iceberg wedge at Luby's cafeteria. My dad would eat it with the grotesque French dressing. The wedge has gone in and out of fashion over the years, but there is still nothing like a very fresh iceberg slice with a really good dressing. Blue cheese is one of my favorites so I am looking forward to trying your chipotle version.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Andi--He was ahead of his time! It's my dad's favorite salad, too.

Lea Ann--You're welcome! Hope you enjoy the chipotle kick.

Jacob--Stop looking and start cooking!

BAM--I used to know people who poured French dressing on their taco salads--such a strange dressing!

Brenda said...

Ohhhhh, yum! I love the addition of chipotle. I'll definitely be making this to accompany some grilled steaks this summer - thanks!

Kristen said...

I love blue cheese and can hardly wait for Saturday when we'll be having it for dinner. We're taking a roadtrip in the RV, and this looked so easy to put together with the grilled steak. I bought roquefort and Danish blue for some more complexity in the flavors.

I've made chipotle cole slaw and chipotle Caesar salad before - and there is no salad that can't be improved with chipotle croutons. I'm betting this salad will be a big hit.

Kristen said...

Wow, that blue cheese dressing is bowl licking good!!!!

I made it last night using Danish blue for blending and Roquefort for the chunks. Next I opted for a light dose of habanero instead of chipotle.

It has such a nice balance of the creamed cheese with the sharp chunks and gentle heat. Thank you for the recipe and I can't wait for your book to show up!

Mairi@Toast said...

Oh I am so making it this weekend...love blue cheese dressing but with chipotle too it sounds even more amazing!

Katie said...

I made this salad dressing for the 4th of July...fantastic! I loved the combo of smoky, spicy, creamy! Thank you. :)

Lindy said...

Wow, Lisa, this sounds really good. Love the crunch of a nice iceberg wedge and the chipotle sounds like a wonderful addition. Once my tomatoes finally get going, I'm all over this!

Anonymous said...

We made this with the restrictions of a supermarket in Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK.
And loved it! We had to remove the garlic, being a bit Gothic up here!-(Check it out)!
We had to use bottled green Jalapenos & a touch of Cayenne pepper, swopped Iceberg for baby cos lettuces (lots of heart). Thank you, we loved it! Melanie & Tricia.

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