The classic steakhouse wedge salad is back and you can make it at “yourhouse”. Using iceberg lettuce for the canvas, you can paint as colorful a picture as you wish. With a neutral flavor, it will add some crunch and serve perfectly as a vehicle to transport the more flavorful ingredients into your belly. It’s a simple, quick and easy but beautiful addition to the dinner table.
Iceberg Lettuce and the Wedge Salad
There are various claims that the wedge salad was made in the early 1900’s. but iceberg lettuce wasn’t commercially produced until the 40’s which boosted it’s popularity. With most of it grown in California, transportation and spoilage was a problem for widespread consumption. The Smithsonian claims the name “iceberg” came from the practice of covering it with mounds of ice before the use of refrigerated rail cars.
Until the 1970’s iceberg lettuce commanded a 95% market share for leafy vegetables, then things changed. Consisting of mostly water, it has only 5% the nutritional value of romaine and other green leafy veggies. The others are also tastier, so they have steadily encroached on what was a practical monopoly.
Today a classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, bacon and a little tomato has moved into the comfort food category. Let’s not get too picky about what goes on it. Dress them up with a few croutons or, gasp, some ranch dressing if that’s what floats your boat.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce – quartered
- 1–1/2 cups blue cheese dressing
- 12 cherry tomatoes – 6 sliced into 1/8” coins and 6 whole
- 4–6 slices bacon – crisped and crumbled
- Croutons (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 6 oz blue cheese crumbles – divided
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche
- 3 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Blue Cheese Dressing
- Make 4 hours ahead or up to a day ahead for best flavor
- Mix 4-5 oz of blue cheese crumbles with the buttermilk, roughly mashing it together until the liquid is well combined. Do not mix all the way to a smooth consistency
- Add the creme fraiche, mayo, white wine vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Stir gently and mix until everything is well combined
- Keep in an airtight container until ready to serve
- Fry the bacon until crisp, remove to drain on a paper towel, roughly chop and set aside
- Wash, remove outer leaves, pat dry and place lettuce in the freezer for 30 minutes to add extra crunchiness
- Slice half the cherry tomatoes and set aside
- Quarter the lettuce, cut off the stem and place on individual plates
- Stir the dressing briefly to reincorporate all the ingredients
- Spoon a quarter cup over each wedge and serve the remainder on the side
- Divide the bacon evenly and sprinkle over the salads
- Divide the tomatoes equally and place them on and around the salads
And just one more thing…
Marital advice for newlywed husbands. Don’t make fun of your spouse if she insists on honey mustard dressing. It’s still a wedge salad and she’s still your honey.