Today’s salad is a simple but very satisfying combination of crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy and peppery watercress, and a little bit of chopped scallion greens tossed with an Easy Blue Cheesy dressing. I’m actually going to give the full-fat recipe as well as tips for a reduced fat version. Both are tasty.
I love watercress and its spicy herbaceous bite. It works miracles with milder greens like iceberg, butter, and romaine lettuces, creating nice textural and flavor contrasts. And when you toss it with a creamy dressing like ranch or green goddess or blue cheese the pepperiness gets tempered by the fatty richness of the dressing, making for a sublime eating experience.
When I make a salad like this I like to take one bunch of watercress, cut off (and discard) the woody stems, and coarsely chop the cress into pieces between a half-inch and an inch in length. I soak the watercress briefly in water to refresh it and then spin it dry. It’ll produce about two cups of loosely packed watercress. To this I’ll add about four cups of loosely packed chopped and cleaned and dried romaine and throw in about a third of a cup of coarsely chopped scallions.
When I toss the greens with a creamy dressing I use my (very clean) hands to gently cover the leaves evenly and lightly. Also I try to make very robust, flavorful dressings so that I can use comparatively less of it, which is something to keep in mind if you’re trying to eat cleaner and lighter. Yes, yes I recognize that this is a fatty, creamy dressing and it’s never going to be the healthy choice that say, oil and vinegar, is. But there’s no reason for a salad to be gut-bomb, is there?
A few notes: For this dressing I like to use a relatively mild blue cheese, a domestic like Maytag or Pt. Reyes or a Danish blue. Salt content varies wildly in blue cheeses, so you’ll have to trust your own palate for salt quantities. Keep in mind that refrigerated dressings will taste less salty than when at room temperature, so you may need to adjust your seasoning after you’ve chilled it and before you dress your salad. Keep in mind too that the full-fat version of this dressing will stiffen as it chills, which means you might want to whisk in a little water to adjust the consistency of your dressing prior to making your salad.
This dressing makes a killer dip for Buffalo chicken wings, btw.
Easy Blue Cheesy Dressing
• 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus a little more (see bottom of ingredient list)
• one small garlic clove, minced
• 1 teaspoon minced shallots
• 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon water
• pinch sugar
• lots of cracked black pepper (kind of a coarse grind)
• kosher salt to taste]
• about one heaping tablespoon of fine blue cheese crumbles (for texture!)
Put all the ingredients (except extra cheese) into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the extra blue cheese. Refrigerate until ready for dinner.
Easy Blue Cheesy Dressing (Slight Return)
To make a reduced fat version of this dressing take out the sour cream and use fat-free Greek-style yogurt instead. Also, take out the mayo and use reduced fat Vegenaise instead.