Hey, What’s Cookin’?
Although pandemic restrictions are starting to ease up just a bit, grocery stores are still not fully stocked, and it’s still not easy to find all our favorite foods. Sometimes you have to work with what’s available, particularly when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that iceberg lettuce always seems to be plentiful!
Iceberg isn’t as popular as it was in the 1950s and ’60s, when it graced every restaurant menu and midcentury modern dining room table across the nation in the form of a Wedge Salad. This salad was, as it implies, a wedge of iceberg lettuce accompanied with bacon, tomato, red onion, and blue cheese dressing.
These days, iceberg has slipped off the grocery list because we have far more nutritious lettuces and greens available these days. However, Covid-19 has meant that they aren’t always that available anymore! So it seems like a good time to put iceberg back on the list.
There’s a saying that “Everything old is new again” and so it is with the New Wedge Salad. There has been a resurgence of interest in the classic, and it’s presented here with several modern-day updates to make it lighter and healthier. Feel free to use either classic blue cheese or gorgonzola in this New Wedge Salad. They have virtually identical nutritional profiles, but gorgonzola is considered by many to taste milder and be easier on the taste buds.
New Wedge Salad
Adapted from: a recipe from Bon Apetit
1/4 cup walnuts
4 slices nitrate-free, uncured bacon
4 oz blue cheese or gorgonzola, crumbled
2/3 cup reduced fat (but not fat free) plain yogurt
2 tbs organic or homemade mayonnaise
1 tbs sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp hot sauce (not buffalo hot sauce)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 head of iceberg lettuce, cut crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant (3-4 min). Remove to a plate to cool.
Cook bacon in the same skillet over medium heat, turning halfway through, until brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool; crumble.
To make the dressing: place the blue cheese/gorgonzola in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave on medium until melted, about 1 minute. Whisk to partially break down the crumbles.
Add yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, and hot sauce to bowl and whisk to combine; dressing will still have lumps, which is fine. Season dressing with plenty of cracked pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 30 minutes.
To serve: place 1 slice of iceberg lettuce on each of the 4 plates. Spoon 2 tbs dressing over each slice. Divide and distribute the walnuts, bacon, celery, onions, tomatoes, and tarragon among the 4 plates.
- This dressing also makes a delicious dip for raw vegetables!
- To do ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Photograph via Bon Apetit