I started meeting a group of friends once or twice a month for these epic 4-hour lunches, where we all bring different courses that are planned out and some interesting wines to try.
I was asked to bring my “best” wedge salad to lunch the other week, and quickly realized that I have never actually made a wedge salad myself.
The idea of a quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce sounds excessive to me, although I understand and respect the classic version of this salad. Instead of a quarter head of iceberg lettuce, this recipe utilizes baby heads of romaine lettuce, cut into quarters.
The salad below is topped with a simple blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon bits, homemade bacon garlic croutons, cherry tomatoes, slivered scallions, toasted walnuts, Brie cheese, and sliced apples.
The following recipe is meant for roughly four salads.
An Incredible Smaller-Sized Wedge Salad
- 2 tsp sunflower seed oil, (or vegetable oil)
- 5 oz hick-cut smoked bacon slices, (cut into small dice pieces)
- 3 oz leftover sourdough bread, (or bread of choice for croutons)
- 1 clove of garlic, (very finely minced)
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- A tiny pinch of Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 4 oz Blue Cheese of choice, (crumbled finely)
- 4 oz of sour cream or crème fraiche
- 3 oz of prepared mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp of fresh chives, (very finely sliced)
- Zest of ¼ lemon
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- Kosher salt & freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup of walnuts, (lightly toasted)
- 4 oz Brie cheese, (cut into small pieces)
- 1 baby head of Romaine lettuce, (cut into quarters)
- 12 cherry tomatoes, (cut in half)
- 2 scallions, (very finely sliced on a bias, reserved in ice water)
- ½ Honeycrisp apple, (core removed, cut into thin slices)
- Add the 2 tsp sunflower seed oil or vegetable oil to a hot saute pan.
- Add the diced bacon, and cook until lightly golden brown.
- Remove the cooked diced bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, allowing the bacon to drain on a paper towel, while reserving the fat in the saute pan.
- Turn the heat under the saute pan off, and remove the saute pan with the bacon fat from the heat.
- Cut the leftover bread into ½” cubes.
- Add the bread cubes to the pan with the bacon fat, and place the saute pan back on the stove.
- Turn heat to medium or medium-low, and lightly toast the croutons in the bacon fat for roughly 5 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring to coat the bread cubes.
- Once the croutons have started to take on a small amount color, add the minced garlic and dried spices and stir to combine.
- Season the croutons with a tiny pinch of Kosher salt, and a few twists of freshly-ground black pepper.
- When the croutons are nicely golden, but before they are brown, remove them from the heat and reserve on paper towels.
- To make the wedge salad dressing, combine the crumbled blue cheese with the sour cream and mayonnaise.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, and whisk the ingredients together.
- Taste, and season with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
- Add the fresh chives, mix to combine with the dressing, and taste again.
- Adjust dressing components as you see fit.
- When you are satisfied with the blue cheese dressing, set it aside in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap.
- To prepare the remaining salad components, lightly toast the walnuts and set them aside to cool.
- Cut the Brie cheese into small bite-sized pieces, and set aside.
- Wash the baby head of lettuce, and cut into quarters.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and season the halved tomatoes gently with some kosher salt.
- Cut the scallions one at a time very thinly on an angle, and reserve the cut scallions in ice water for 3 minutes until they curl up.
- When the scallions have sat in the ice water for three minutes, remove from the ice water and drain on paper towels.
- When you are ready to plate your salads, cut the core out of one half of a Honeycrisp apple, and cut the cored apple into thin slices.
- Plate each salad with a quarter wedge of Romaine lettuce, topped with dollops of the blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon bits, bacon garlic croutons, Brie cheese, cherry tomatoes, scallions, and Honeycrisp apple slices.