This classic wedge salad recipe is an easy crowd-pleasing dish that comes together fast and easy! (Jump directly to the recipe.)
I can hear his voice in my head as I plated the iceberg wedge salad and took a look at it. “I’d probably give that plate a B or B+ if I had to judge…” was how he would say it, looking at me as I overloaded the iceberg lettuce with chopped tomatoes, blue cheese chunks, thick bacon bits, shavings of shallots, a sprinkling of chopped parsley, not to mention the healthy dollop of blue cheese dressing. He would probably shake his head a little, and then tell me that I was crowding the plate, putting too much on the salad. He taught a cooking class I took a few months ago at a culinary school and he was pretty critical on people’s plating, something I did appreciate as that’s really the only way you can learn. But as I’ve stated before when I made my bialys, I’m a maximalists when it comes to food. More is often more for me and so I sprinkled the salad with even more bacon and thought to myself, oh well, good thing he’s not around to judge. After all, I’d rather eat something that tastes great but isn’t so picture-perfect than eat three single leaves of lettuce on a plate and want for more.
Wedge salads have always held a soft spot in my heart. Growing up in the Midwest, Iceberg was the default lettuce and though my palate has expanded beyond the watery crunchy green leaves, I still find myself tempted to order it when I see it on a menu. Though it went away for awhile in the 90s (when everyone seemed obsessed with miso glazed cod and wasabi mashed potatoes), it came back with a vengeance a few years ago at fine dining restaurants that decided that wedge salads were the perfect comfort food with a low overhead that they could charge a premium for. Of course, everyone knows you can make it pretty easily at home, but that didn’t stop everyone from ordering them anyway. I mean who doesn’t love a wedge salad?
That said, I do rarely make a wedge salad at home. Usually I’m too distracted by the little gem lettuce or the mixed spring greens at my local grocery store to think about buying Iceberg. But in a recent fit of nostalgia and Midwest American fare (I was making ribs for dinner – recipe to come) I thought ahead enough to buy some Iceberg at the store. My Midwest roots were showing through, but my partner didn’t mind. He’s from Indiana after all. Wedge salad is part of his heritage too.
By Irvin Lin
The classic iceberg wedge salad is easy to make and a definite crowd pleaser. I took inspiration from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table cookbook and made mine with hearty amount of bacon and blue cheese as well as smoked paprika in the dressing to help punch up the smokiness of the bacon. Feel free to cut back or omit the cheese if you’re not a fan but as I said before, I’m a maximalist when it comes to food. More is more in my book when it comes to this salad!
Adapted from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain
Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, forced through a press or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into small bits
1 head Iceberg lettuce
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 sprigs parsley, leaves chopped, stems discarded (optional)
1. Make the dressing by placing all the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Using a fork and mix together, mashing the blue cheese into the dressing (inevitably you won’t be able to get all the blue cheese to mix, that’s OK). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Cook the bacon until crisp and drain in bowl lined with paper towels. Assemble the salad by cutting the head of lettuce into quarters (wedges) and placing them on a plate. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of dressing on the lettuce, reserve leftover dressing for people to add more if they want. Sprinkle the dressed lettuce with the chopped tomatoes, crumbled cheese, shallot slices and bacon bits. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the salad and serve immediately.
Makes 4 side salads.
If you like this classic wedge salad, check out these other classic salad recipes from around the web:
Recipe Girl’s Classic Cobb Salad
Shutterbean’s Simple Caesar Salad
No Recipe’s Nicoise Salad
Merry Gourmet’s Waldorf Salad
Closet Cooking’s Spinach Salad with Bacon