From America's Test Kitchen Season 3: Steak House Dinners
Cool and crunchy salad greens coated with creamy blue cheese dressing are simply irresistible. But getting the right proportion of dressing to greens can be tricky. Order this salad at a restaurant and it’s likely you’ll receive a plate of dressing-soaked greens. We wanted lettuce lightly napped with a creamy, tangy dressing. Starting with the dressing, we found that the secret to proper flavor and texture was in using the right creamy components. We determined that three creamy ingredients were essential: mayonnaise to give the dressing body, sour cream to supply tang, and buttermilk to thin out and further reinforce the dressing’s bold flavors. A bit of sugar brought some much-needed sweetness and white wine vinegar gave our dressing some zing. As for the main ingredient, we ruled out really pungent blue cheeses as too overpowering; a mild blue cheese works best. For the right chunky consistency, we mixed the crumbled blue cheese with the buttermilk before adding any other ingredients.
We dressed a variety of different salad greens and found that delicate ones, such as mesclun and butter lettuce, became soggy under the weight of this dressing. Sturdy romaine and curly leaf lettuce were our two favorites.