Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sacré Bleu!

I have a love/hate relationship with the moldy cheeses... when Brick's melts blue cheese onto their escargot, or Luciano's adds gorgonzola to pretty much anything, I love it.  But other times, like on a black and blue burger, the smell just hits me wrong.  Really, I'm just a little weird.

Now when it comes to chicken wings and blue cheese, it's all about the love.  

For a long time, and for no concrete reason at all, I would only buy blue cheese dressing.   There was no way I could make it, right?  Because, after all those years of culinary training, I wouldn't have any idea how to build a simple salad dressing from scratch!  

Yeah, sometimes I'm slow.  

Over this last weekend, I decided that the most perfect chicken wings ever really did deserve a dressing/dipping sauce made from scratch.  So, I made one up. 
It's only 12 ingredients!  (The honey snuck out of the picture, little scamp; I'm starting to think my honey is shy)
You'll need fresh chives and fresh Italian parsley, garlic, one lemon, one of the small containers of blue cheese crumbles (or a solid chunk and you can break it up yourself), mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, a little creamy horseradish, and salt (kosher or sea salt) and pepper.  

Variation:  You can also use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a lighter version.  I prefer FAGE but use what YOU like.  Just be prepared to add a little bit of cider vinegar and extra salt (teeny amounts) if the flavor of the dressing seems a little flat. Of course, if you are dairy free, stick to mayo!

Start by mincing up two cloves of garlic.  

Thinly slice some chives (approx 2 tablespoons).

Finely chop some Italian parsley (approx 1 tablespoon).

I really only use the flat leaf/ Italian parsley.  I know people say that curly and flat leafed parsley taste exactly the same.  I have to disagree.  It seems no matter how finely I chop those curly little leaves, they still seem to have a tougher and sharper consistency than flat-leaf.  And I don't think they taste the same - they don't SMELL the same, how can the flavor be identical?  Of course, if you prefer the curly stuff, or it you can't get flat-leaf, that's totally fine.  It's personal preference.  I'm not going to show up at your door and throw a hissy fit for using the wrong varietal of an herb.

Zest a lemon (1 lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of zest).

Add the blue cheese.  I used a 5 oz container.  Break up the cheese with a fork and mix well with the herbs, lemon zest, and garlic.

Juice a lemon and add approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (no seeds please!).

Add 1 cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream.  Add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of creamy horseradish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The cheese makes this prone to saltiness; add salt sparingly and taste often.  Pepper, however, is just dandy - add as much as you can stand!

 I know it's hard to see in the picture (eventually, I'll need to upgrade my camera), but it's actually quite pretty.  There's all sorts of little confetti bits in yellow and green, and of course the moldy cheese adds some color as well.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Serve it on salad or with crudite, or serve it like this:

Given the acid from the lemon juice, even if you used home-made mayonnaise this should last for at least a week in the fridge, if not a little longer.

The handy dandy printable version of this recipe is in my Recipe Box, over on Tasty Kitchen!

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