well dressed January 27, 2010


Picking a favorite salad, for me, is like picking a favorite child. While I love so many of them, making one really special…really unique…is a tall order. Currently, I'm having a gastronomic love affair with one particular salad at an Atlanta restaurant called Bocado. Delicate young greens dressed in homemade buttermilk dressing then topped with goat cheese and dried cranberries. Having the opportunity to eat this salad makes me swoon – I ordered one for Helen to try when we dined there during her trip to Atlanta.

This constant craving crossed paths with my newly acquired copy of Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller. Spying his recipe for buttermilk dressing, I decided to merge the two for my own at-home recipe for this incredible salad. My batch of dressing had more herbs and more buttermilk than called for in the recipe, as well as more lemon and a pinch of heat – feel free to tweak it to your taste. Adding more buttermilk allows for a thinner dressing as to not weigh down the beautiful salad mix. I've replaced the dried cranberries with tarter dried cherries. Topped with crumbles of creamy goat cheese and some dill fronds (which I absolutely hate but somehow love in this salad), it's the most perfectly balanced, gentle yet flavorful salad I've had in a long time.

Young Field Green & Herb Salad with Dried Cherries, Goat Cheese and Buttermilk Dressing – makes two large salads

  • 1 bag pre-washed field green mix or two large handfuls of loose spring mix
  • 2 ounces creamy, soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (substitute dried cranberries if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh dill fronds
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • pinch (1/8 teaspoon) dried red chili flakes
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the dressing: Combine buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped parsley, chopped mint, chopped chives, chili flakes together in a large mixing bowl or blender. Whisk by hand or pulse together until well mixed. Give it a taste at this point and add salt & pepper as you see fit. This makes far more dressing than you'll need for your salad so store the remainder in a glass storage jar with a tightly fitting lid to enjoy later.

To assemble the salad: Wash and allow greens to dry thoroughly. Toss lettuces in about 4 tablespoons of your dressing – add more if so choose. Crumble your goat cheese into the lettuce mixture and gently toss. Add cherries and dill fronds and give it one more gentle – but thorough – mix. Serve immediately.


Carrie Oliver Jan 27, 2010 01:01 pm

This reminds me of how good Hidden Valley Salad Dressing was before they figured out how to make it “shelf stable” and available in a bottle. It looks and sounds delicious!

tamih Jan 27, 2010 01:01 pm

Before I ate this salad at Bocado, I had forgotten how much I like *true* ranch dressing. The fresh taste and the un-“gloopy” texture is nothing like the bottled version most have come to know. Whipping up this dressing took about 5 minutes – put it in the Vitamix and let it do all the chopping, even!

heather Jan 27, 2010 04:01 pm

i love this idea for a salad and dressing. wonderful flavor and texture combinations. will make soon.
cheers and thanks,

Caitlin Jan 27, 2010 04:01 pm

Oh wonderful – the fiance’s favorite dressing is Ranch (shudder), so maybe I can sway him to a homemade and tastier version!

deana@lostpastremembered Jan 27, 2010 04:01 pm

That is one gorgeous salad… beautiful photo!

Melanie Jan 27, 2010 05:01 pm

My favorite salad and a great photo too.

The Teacher Cooks Jan 27, 2010 06:01 pm

I do love salad. This sounds divine!

The Broke Socialite Jan 27, 2010 07:01 pm


joey Jan 28, 2010 03:01 pm

Yummy looking salad! I love all those herbs…

my spatula Jan 29, 2010 03:01 pm

so gorgeous! love the use of buttermilk. i’m excited to see this recipe as i’m always on the lookout for new ways to dress up my salad.

Elisabeth Jan 30, 2010 07:01 pm

Wow — this looks spectacular, what a lovely photo! I will be making this very soon :0)

Sarka Feb 5, 2010 10:02 am

Oh, this salad looks divine! I love the use of dried cherries. I have a pack of dried cherries in my cupboard! :)