The original version of this now ubiquitous condiment was created at the Hidden Valley Guest Ranch in Santa Barbara in the 1950s. The formula was subsequently purchased by the Clorox company, which uses the Hidden Valley name to this day, but "ranch" has become a generic term not just for a dressing but for a buttermilky flavor (as in ranch-flavored chips). Here's a fresh homemade version. If you prefer a less runny dressing, stir in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise or sour cream.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 to 3 pinches of kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- black pepper to taste
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Mash together the garlic cloves and salt until a paste is formed. Remove to a small bowl or a jar with a tight fitting lid. Add and whisk together buttermilk, lime juice, cilantro or parsley and chives until well blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.