Settling into bed last Sunday, I couldn't wait to let the warm glow of the television deliver the much anticipated meth-filled hijinks of Walt and Jesse (of Breaking Bad, but you knew that already, right?). Now I'm all for the blue stuff, but imagine my surprise when it opened with something I could actually relate to—sauce! As the doomed Herr Schuler depressingly dipped his tots in one sauce after another devised by the scientists of the Madrigal super foodlab, there was one that really intrigued—Franch. I was all over that like Walt on ricin.
'ranch dressing' on Serious Eats
Half French dressing, half ranch equals Franch. Respect the chemistry.
I'll be honest: I didn't grow up eating ranch dressing outside of the occasional bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (this was back before they were "Cooler"), and I've personally never developed much of a taste for it. That said, there's a reason why it's the number one selling flavor of bottled dressing in America. Creamy, fatty, and tangy, it coats even the dullest-tasting leaf of iceberg lettuce or the most underdeveloped pizza crust with a salty, herbal tang. Instant flavor, just shake, squeeze, eat, and repeat. So which bottled dressing is the best?
It started off innocently enough, a little dressing drenched leaf of lettuce making its way onto a slice on a shared plate. Then hey, why not dip the crust in it?. Before you know it ranch dressing topped pies started elbowing their way into specialty slice shops. But now ranch has gained such a strong foothold in the topping department that it's made its way onto the chain menus*, usually serving as an accompaniment to chicken. It has taken whole areas of the country by storm (I'm looking at you Texas ... and Michigan). So, Slice people, what's your position on ranch dressing edging its way into the topping/saucing class?
Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow believe that "everything should taste like bacon." To that end, they have developed a successful line of bacon flavored products that includes microwave popcorn, mayonnaise, seasoned salts, lip balm, and even baby formula. But here's the thing: none of them contain any actual bacon. If it's possible for something to taste like bacon without being meaty or porky, this dressing achieved it.
Overheard in the Slice/Serious Eats office, intern Faye Leong: "I dip my Hawaiian pizza in ranch dressing." See also: Do You Put Ranch Dressing on Your Pizza? »...
Houston food writer Robb Walsh posted a thoughtful meditation a couple weeks ago on ranch dressing and its application in pizza-related situations. This was in reaction to a Houston pizzeria, Romano's, that banned the stuff outright from its premises (see photo, above). As anyone not on the East Coast knows, people have been dipping their pizza in the stuff for some time now. After taking us through the dressing's origins and making a spirited defense of it, Walsh decides to take the dip: Personally, I have come to prefer ranch dressing over ketchup as a dip for onion rings....