My refrigerator is broken. Not broken in a way that cannot be fixed, but broken in a way that requires a specialist of some kind. It has taken over a week to schedule that specialist, so I’ve been working with a mini fridge for eight (8) days. This has obviously limited the amount of perishables I can keep around, so every night is a weird game of Chopped.
But, just like on Chopped, these limitations have resulted in some unique and interesting pairings. The last one popped into my head like an intrusive thought, after I had finished a salad of butter lettuce, tomatoes, bacon bits, and ranch dressing. After supper, I had to Tetris everything back into my tiny fridge. The only spot for the ranch dressing was next to the tomato paste. That’s when inspiration struck: “Tomato ranch,” I whispered to the dog. “I gotta make that tomorrow.” I made a note in my phone and went to bed.
This morning, I mixed the two together, and confirmed (once again) that I have very good ideas. The tomato paste made the ranch taste deeper, sweeter, and even more umami-heavy. It had a warm and sticky flavor, like a hot summer night, almost like s sun dried tomato, but a touch brighter.
Tomato ranch is obviously easy to make, and the perfect dressing for your summer salads. Grab your favorite ranch dressing, either store-bought or homemade, then whisk in some tomato paste. I use a ratio of at least 1 teaspoon of paste for every 1/2 cup of dressing, but you could do 1 1/2 or 2 teaspoons if you want a more intense tomato flavor (and I do).
This summery ranch is good on everything that regular ranch is good on. Try it on a wedge salad (with blue cheese crumbles), dunk your chicken tenders and dip your fries in it. Fried pickles? The tiny bit of extra acidity makes it perfect for all sorts of deep-fried fare. You really can’t fuck this up.
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