Earlier this week I was in the mood for buttermilk dressing. NOT Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing in a plastic bottle, or any other facsimile. I wanted REAL buttermilk dressing. You know, the kind with actual buttermilk in it. If you've never tasted freshly made buttermilk dressing, you need to promptly make a batch (and it's super easy, so it really is quick). Dressing made with actual buttermilk, garlic, lemon and herbs is almost an entirely different food than the bottled variety sold on grocery store shelves. And, once you try it, you'll never go back.
So after whipping up a jar (in less than 5 minutes, I might add to entice you to do the same) and dipping some snap peas and little yellow tomatoes in it, I realized I wanted to do more with my dressing. My daughter Sophie loves a chef's salad, so I started playing with the idea of reinventing and updating this dish a bit for our dinner. My first change was to abandon the standard roasted turkey element. None of us like it all that much anyway, so why bother? And, as long as we had already bought some buttermilk, why not make fried chicken tenders coated in panko and Spanish paprika instead? Ham slices also sounded boring, so I opted for prosciutto drizzled with olive oil and slightly crisped in the oven as a substitute. Of course we needed tomatoes (as they are in season and so sweet this time of year), but with salty prosciutto and crispy chicken, I wanted my tomatoes to stand out. I therefore decided to roast them to draw out their maximum sweetness. Finally, I needed to ponder the merits of including hard boiled eggs. I do quite like them, but wasn't sure how to serve them with fried chicken on greens. That's when I came upon the idea of poaching the eggs instead. I adore how the cracked yolk in poached eggs add richness to Salad Lyonnais, and thought it would also work well with fried chicken, bitter greens and prosciutto. And, because I have a hard time leaving well enough alone, I added some Scarichi to the buttermilk dressing for a new dimension of vinegary heat.
Served on rocket, the final result was a mix of everything I love on one plate. The sweet roasted tomatoes were the perfect foil to the salty prosciutto, while the fried chicken's crispiness and the poached eggs velvety yolks added a luxurious decadence. Mixed with Scarichi, the dressing added complexity and spiciness to the dish.
Better yet, both my kids loved this dish and ate lots of extra veggies on the side dipped in that luscious buttermilk dressing. You really can't ask for more in a family dinner.