Monday, June 28, 2010

Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing

Apparently, there is a dressing like this at Cafe Rio (which I've never been to).  I got this recipe from my sister-in-law after sampling it at her house.  It was awesome.  I've seen versions of it on the internet - websites, other foodblogs, etc. 

1 pkg. ranch dressing
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
3 tomatillos
1 c. cilantro
3 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1/8 tsp. cayenne

The Method
Peel husks from tomatillos and rinse.  Place tomatillos in small pan of water over high heat and bring to a boil.  Tomatillos are done when they begin to sink in the pan.  Remove from pan and place in blender with other ingredients.  Blend until smooth. 

Food for Thought
Use this on any Mexican or Tex-Mex dish or salad you like.  It is creamy, savory, herbaceous goodness that will truly blow your mind. 


  1. Love it love it love it love it love it! And the homemade version is way better than Cafe Rio's!

  2. Why do the tomatillos need to be cooked?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Good question. Without trying to sound cheeky, I could attempt to answer the question with another question. Why cook a tomatillo? Why cook a tomato? Depends on the effect you are going for. I have noted a certain citrus-like quality to fresh tomatillos, which the cooking process breaks down. Whenever I make tomatillo salsa, I always roast the produce after a light brush with canola oil. My number one goal is to give things a bit of char, which always enhances the flavor profile of savory foods, but actually, using fresh tomatillos would simply leave things tasting too citrusy and grassy.

    The following is an abstract from an interesting article on cooked vs. fresh tomatillos. For the entire article you can just Google the title/authors.

    Comparison of flavor components in fresh and cooked tomatillo with red plum tomato

    References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

    Robert J. McGorrin*, a and Ludmila Gimelfarba

    aKraft Foods, Technology Center, 801 Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL 60025, USA

    Available online 3 July 2007.

    The tomatillo or husk tomato (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.) is a solanaceous fruit vegetable used to prepare green sauces and salsas in various Mexican dishes. It is increasingly being utilized in a variety of “fusion cooking” recipes, which blend and adapt Latin American flavor themes for contemporary North American tastes. While similar in appearance to a green tomato, the tomatillo exhibits a unique flavor profile. However, little information has been previously reported on the identity of key aroma and taste components which impact tomatillo flavor, and how they compare with those found in fresh tomato. This chapter describes the characterization of volatile and non-volatile components in fresh and cooked tomatillos in relative comparison to red plum tomato. In this study, over 50 volatile compounds were identified in tomatillo, of which aldehydes and alcohols including (Z)-3-hexenal, (E,E)-2,4-decadienal, nonanal, hexanal, hexanol and (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol were the most significant in providing the “green flavor” impact. Compounds unique to tomatillo flavor included hydroxy esters, aromatic esters, 8- to 12-carbon aldehydes, decanoic acid and terpenes. The nonvolatile profile of fresh tomatillos was found to be dominated by citric acid, which contributes to its acidic taste. Odor Unit values were used to evaluate the relative significance of identified volatiles and assess their overall impact on the distinctive flavor of this novel food ingredient.