For years, iceberg lettuce got a real thrashing from chefs who thought of it as tasteless and nothing but texture. What’s wrong with great texture?
Cut up a head of iceberg for a classic wedge salad, add blue cheese dressing, smoky bacon, and a few cherry tomatoes, and even the worst kitchen snobs will change their minds!
Wedge salads go back to the early 20th century, when iceberg lettuce was simply dressed with a creamy dressing such as Roquefort, Russian, or Green Goddess before serving. Blue cheese and bacon became wildly popular additions in the 1950s, but then the dish fell out of favor as the trend faded and as leafier, more flavorful lettuces (like red and green leaf, oak leaf, and others) came into popularity.
But all good things return to the table, and so have wedge salads.
There’s so little prep with this salad that you can make it in the time it takes to fry bacon. If you’re serving this at a dinner party, you can make life even easier on yourself by frying the bacon and whisking the dressing ahead of time.
For the dressing, I like to use a combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, and cider vinegar. It needs to be fairly thick, but still pourable, so when the dressing goes over the wedges, it sticks to the top, but still drizzles down the sides and onto the plate.
Crumble bacon, add a few colorful cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of chives and you have really wonderful textures and tastes: creamy, crisp, crunchy, smoky, juicy, aromatic. The classics are classic for a reason.
Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe
Make-ahead Tip: The bacon and the dressing can both be prepared several days ahead. Reheat the bacon briefly in the microwave before serving, if desired.
- 6 thick strips bacon
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
- Dash hot sauce, like Tabasco, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
- Heavy cream or milk, as needed to thin the dressing
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 12 red or yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 Prepare the bacon: In a heavy skillet, fry the bacon strips, turning often, for 5 minutes, or until they are evenly golden and crisp all over.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Cool and crumble.
2 Make the blue cheese dressing: In a food processor, combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, or pepper, if you like. If you need to thin the mixture, add heavy cream or milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
3 Prepare the iceberg lettuce: Discard the outer leaves of the lettuce. Halve the lettuce through the core. Cut each half into 3 wedges so each piece has some core attached to it. With the wedges flat on the cutting board, trim out the tough part of the core from each wedge, but leave enough so that the wedges stay intact.
4 Assemble the salads: Arrange the wedges on six salad plates. Spoon some dressing over the wedges. Sprinkle with bacon, tomatoes, and chives.
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