We all like “wedge salads” right? I have enjoyed them ever since I had my first one at a local restaurant some years ago. You do not see them on menus at restaurants so much any more but I can always make my own version of this simple, but delicious salad. I have already posted two other homemade dressings; go here for Thousand Island and here for a Blue Cheese Vinaigrette. I will post my recipe using a homemade Ranch dressing in the near future.
The popularity of iceberg lettuce began back in the 1920’s. The “wedge salad” first appeared in the 1950’s and 1960’s and kind of went out of vogue as other salads became more popular. Vinaigrette-based leaf lettuces and the so-called designer greens such as mesclun, frisee, arugula and packaged mixes were more nutritional and flavorful than iceberg lettuces. They did surface again and included good quality ingredients such as Maytag blue cheese and roasted nuts.
I am sharing these simple, but delicious salads with everyone at Fiesta Friday #66. Angie and her co-host, Anna are welcoming all of the different bloggers with their special recipes and posts. Come join us in all the fun we are having 🙂
The first recipe comes from Buddy Vallastero’s Italian cookbook and I slightly tweaked it! Yes, he not only makes gorgeous cakes but is Italian and has lots of good homemade recipes.
Wedges of Iceberg Lettuce with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing, Adapted
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 lb. pancetta cut into 1-inch pieces (or use a good quality bacon such as apple-smoked)
- 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges
- Gorgonzola dressing below
- radishes, ends trimmed thinly sliced
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- walnuts, toasted and chopped (I added)
Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan, add the pancetta and cook, stirring until it has rendered most of its fat and is golden and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar (I used the balsamic)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup (6 oz.) crumbled Gorgonzola or any good quality blue cheese
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1-2 tbsp. milk
Put the mustard, vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl and season with salt and pepper (I do not add). Slowly whisk in the oil and 1/2 cup of the Gorgonzola and mash with a fork. Whisk in the sour cream and enough milk to make the best consistency. Add the rest of the Gorgonzola. Use right away or store in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Place a wedge on each of 6 salad plates. Pour the dressing over each wedge, about 2/3 cup. Garnish with the pancetta or bacon (see candied bacon recipe below), radishes and cherry tomato halves.
As Buddy states, “the radishes and cherry tomatoes provide sweetness, acidity and crunch that balance the richness of the other ingredients”. This is an excellent blue cheese dressing to use on any salad.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 6 thick slices of applewood bacon
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place foil on a large baking sheet and put a wire rack coated with non-stick spray on top. Combine the first four ingredients and press into the bacon. Place the bacon on wire rack. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool and remove from rack; tear into pieces.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
Food Network Lettuce Wedges with Blue Cheese Dressing (adapted)
- juice of 1 lemon (add to taste as some lemons give you more juice)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup buttermilk (add only enough to make the consistency you would like)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 6 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (use a good quality such as Maytag)
- toasted, chopped walnuts
- 2 heads iceberg lettuce (I also like to use charred romaine hearts)
- 10 slices bacon (applewood smoked would be delicious), cooked and crumbled
- 1 tomato, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
- freshly ground black pepper
Combine the first six ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Add the cheese and continue to blend. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Core and quarter each head of lettuce. Serve a generous scoop of dressing over each lettuce wedge and top with the bacon and tomato. Season with pepper.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
I also love this salad using small romaine hearts and grilling them lightly before preparing the salad. Cut the romaines in half, brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a medium hot grill until you get nice grill marks and the romaine is slightly charred.