Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Wedge Salad Makes A Comeback

The prognosticators for food trends keep telling us that the Iceberg Wedge Salad is back. In fact they have been telling us for the past 10 years that this popularized mid-century modern first course celeb has been making its comeback!

Of late, perhaps many would give credit for its resurgence to the Mad Men craze. This American television period drama series is also acclaimed for the cocktail rebirth. But I digress.

I love blue cheese and so for me the Wedge Salad becomes another delivery mechanism for the pungent bite-y cheese.

The Wedge Salad probably fell out of favour like most things do when they become overdone, predictable and are no longer prepared with care. The fickle are then easily wooed to the next new salad sensation.

The formula for the Wedge Salad is pretty consistent - iceberg lettuce quartered, lots of bacon, tomatoes and chives for colour.  

As Shawna Wagman points out in her Trends article in Ottawa Magazine's Eating & Drinking 2014, variations in eateries around town include pickled spicy eggs, fried pig's ears, cucumber petals, crushed pink peppercorns, and even pickled carrots. 

Any reincarnation that satiated me in this century has still been quite familiar.

My latest CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm included a head of iceberg lettuce. Wedge was the first thing that came to mind.  

This particular head was a beautiful green with tender flawless, though quite loosely packed leaves. The iceberg lettuce I bought for my last Wedge Salad in March looked utterly anemic in comparison.

Whether you follow food trends or like food 'just because', get yourself a crisp Berg and start piling on the Blue.

Inspired by many. Bon Appétit Magazine, Fine Cooking Magazine, Aaron McCargo Jr., Martha Stewart, David Lebovitz to name a few.

This blue cheese dressing handily covers 4 servings.  It makes a great dip for carrots, celery and suicide wings. Just use less buttermilk and lemon juice so it is 'stiffer'.

100 - 125 gr. blue cheese, depending on your taste
4 tablespoons sour cream
3 - 4 tablespoons buttermilk, depending on your preferred consistency
2 - 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
a dash of sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the crumbled blue cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.  Mash the blue cheese as you stir but make sure it still has some chunks throughout.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  Add the buttermilk until you have the desired consistency.  Add a dash of sriracha and season with salt and pepper to taste.

The dressing will stiffen when fully chilled.  Have it sit out while you are preparing the plates to soften it.

Serve over a quartered iceberg lettuce, core removed.  Garnish with bacon chunks/crumble and wedges of small tomatoes.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.  Include small chunks of blue cheese if you have some leftover.

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