Tag Archives: Salmon

Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip at Costco: Product Review

Let’s make something perfectly clear: there are few things I abhor more than intentional spelling mistakes in words, for any reason. This goes for names, brands and pretty much anything. That’s my personal opinion. This is why I cringed when I saw Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing & Dip at Costco. ‘Xtreme’, really? ‘Extreme’ wasn’t ‘Xtreme’ enough? Uhhhh.

That’s when I saw the price, $1.97 for 944 ml – almost a liter of ranch dressing. Then I remembered that I have Gravlax in the fridge. For those of you that don’t know Gravlax, it’s a type of marinated salmon with dill. Incredible. I’ll post my recipe sometimes. In the mean time, you can check out the wikipedia entry for it.

Johnny's Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip

Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip

So, $1.97. It was probably 7 or 8 dollars at some point, but then I thought, with a tacky name and overly colorful and mildly inappropriate packaging, no wonder it’s marked down. Who are they trying to appeal to, anyways? Dill-crazy teenagers? Those aren’t at Costco.

Johnny's Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip ( nutrition facts)

Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip ( nutrition facts)

In any case, I’m happy I bought it, and I’m writing the review, aren’t I?

I’ve not used Johnny’s Dill Ranch dressing as dressing so far, because I have a bunch of gravlax to eat, but I’m sure it will serve admirably well.

I’ve been using it as dip, and it goes quite well with my marinated salmon; it’s very dilly, as the name implies, and that’s something you just can’t get enough eating gravlax. It doesn’t taste too rich, just right, and sticks to the salmon slices in just the right thickness.

In short, an excellent dip, but I wouldn’t use for everything, which is unfortunate because I have a liter of it and I’m quickly running out of salmon.

As to the nutrition facts, it’s about what you’d expect. Each 2-tablespoon serving contains 22% of your daily fat, 13% of your sodium and not much else. Certainly no vitamins or essential nutrients to speak of, but then again, that’s not really what anyone was looking for here, was it?

Johnny's Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip (ingredients)

Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip (ingredients)

It does get interesting when you look at the contents. The first 8 ingredients look fine; they are the traditional ingredients you would expect to find in any dill dressing. Things get a little hairier after that.

As you can see from the provided ingredients list, Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip contains a plethora of chemical-sounding ingredients, including everyone’s favorite, Calcium Disodium EDTA, which is creepily used to treat heavy metal poisoning, such as lead or mercury.

Gross.

Thankfully, it also prevents the dip from turning when you leave the jar open for too long, so hooray for that and I guess everything’s okay. It’s totally worth it.

In any case, I don’t want to be too rough here on Johnny’s Xtreme Taste Dill Ranch Dressing and Dip. Despite it’s horrible spelling mistake name, loud graphic design and dizzying list of chemicals, it’s certainly no worse than just about anything you buy on supermarket shelves, unless you feel like making *everything* from scratch. I know I don’t. In addition, this dressing is made in the USA by Johnny’s Fine Foods, so it’s not like your buying some imported, low quality and non-certified junk. I’ll be enjoying my dip and dressing now, for a very affordable price thanks to Costco.

Pan-Fried Salmon in a Creamy Herb Sauce Recipe

Who doesn’t love salmon? Well, I guess people with allergies, or those that don’t like fish in general. But salmon’s pretty awesome. What I have here is a recipe that was originally for cod, but brilliantly adapted by one of my colleagues, and yours truly, for salmon.

The gist of the recipe is pan-friend salmon chunks in a creamy sauce with salted herbs. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: “Creamy and salty! Oh my God, he’s discovered the secret to ultimate flavor!” And you would be mostly right. Except that this really is quite good, and not nearly as greasy nor salty as the name would imply.

Start with about 600 grams – a pound and a half, more or less – of nice, fresh salmon fillet, from which you’ll remove the skin. I’m really bad at this and tend to butcher the fillet, so no pictures of that. Cut the salmon in cubes about an inch a side.

Cutting the Salmon

I then prepared a mix of white flour, cayenne pepper and curcuma – for color. The mix was mostly flour, but took on a very slight red and gold tint from the other ingredients. I then rolled the pieces of salmon fillet in the flour mix, individually so as not to bruise them any more than needed.

Salmon in Flour

In an anti-adhesive pan, I melted a good-sized nugget of butter, maybe about one big heaping tablespoon, and added some olive oil. I then turned up the heat just short of “MAX”.

I carefully deposited the pieces of salmon, now nicely coated with the flour mix, in the burning hot oil and butter.Butter and Oil

I say carefully, both for the salmon, which I did not want to break apart, as well as for my fingers, who react predictably to contact with burning oil.

That being said, salmon is a lot sturdier than cod when fried, and should not fall apart too much. Once the fish was cooked on one side, I carefully (again) turned over the salmon so that the other side could comfortably bathe in hot butter and oil.

Salmon starting to FryOnce the salmon was outwardly cooked more or less evenly, I added one tablespoon of one of my favorite condiments, Les Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve, which translates as “Salted Herbs from the lower River”.

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve

Les Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve

The “lower river” pertains to a region on the St-Lawrence river, not actual water herbs. It’s a mix of parsley, carrots, and lots of other things, and it’s really, really salty. So don’t put too much. I ended up with this:

FRIED_SALMON_WITH_HERBS

Now, this is good enough to be eaten as is. But I got the recipe from one of my colleagues, who is French, and never, ever misses an occasion to drown food with cream. He actually recommended that I use 45% cream, but that’s too much, even for me. I added maybe a quarter-cup of cream, and kept the heat on high for a few minutes, until the cream started to boil.

SALMON_WITH_CREAM

I I served the pan-fried salmon over a bed of rice, with probably some sort of vegetable on the side, I don’t remember that part! This is a really delicious recipe, easy and quick to make. It’s not exactly ‘light’, so it shouldn’t be an every day thing. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this. Bear in mind that all quantities are approximate. Look at the pictures and use your cooking common sense.

Bon appétit!

PAN_FRIED_SALMON_WITH_HERBS_AND_CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 600 grams of salmon (1 ½ pounds)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Cream (15% or more)
  • Flour
  • Curcuma (a pinch)
  • Cayenne (a smaller pinch)
  • Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve (or equivalent)

Serve on rice.

Author’s Note: This is a reprint from the recipe I’d published a few years ago on a food website I owned. I haven’t changed a word. What has changed, however, is that I try not to eat greasy food like that too often. My doctor frowns upon it.