Things that I learned in the preparation of this post:
- I can see myself in the reflection of that serving spoon – whoops!
- Don’t leave bacon unattended – the cat will make quick work of it and you will have to cook more.
- Wedge salads (minus the croutons) are sturdy enough to be assembled a couple hours in advance – who knew?
- Iceberg has a definite place in my kitchen.
- I am really into those blue napkins lately!
All in all some solid knowledge gained I think. Especially the piece about iceberg. I mean we learned a long time ago that it’s essentially the tilapia of the lettuce world – flavorless and devoid of nutritional value. In my opinion those claims are wildly overblown. Iceberg is packed with vitamin A and duh it’s a vegetable so while not the nutrient-dense powerhouse that is kale, it’s still a better choice than say a bag of chips.* But let’s be realistic here, I’m not going to make any converts from the health angle. So here’s why I think you should give iceberg a second chance – it is the perfect summer lettuce. When the temps are well into the 90’s and you just need to cool off, iceberg is there for you with its watery, crisp, sturdy leaves that hold up any number of delicious toppings and dressings like a freaking champ.
So today I give you my favorite iceberg application – the wedge.
This one is an homage to my favorite summer sandwich, the BLT. It’s a great balance of crisp, juicy, salty, crunchy, and just a little bit sweet and tangy courtesy of a quick 1000 island dressing. It’s also dead easy and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. So while you’ve still got a hot day and some amazing summer tomatoes, try this out and let it sell you on the oft-forgotten beauty of a head of iceberg lettuce. The more you know.
*I know you’re loving my health comparisons of chips to salad – only here, folks.
BLT Wedge Salad
This recipe makes extra croutons. This is not a mistake. You will find a place for them – soup, lunch salad tomorrow, casual snacking, etc. If you truly hate on iceberg you could do this with some fancier lettuce, but pick a sturdy and crisp variety, not something delicate or droopy. Romaine would be fine…I guess…if you must.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 25 Minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
3 C rustic bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 T olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
5 slices bacon, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, as ripe as possible
Salt and pepper
1000 Island Dressing (recipe below)
Preheat your oven to 400° F.
Scatter bread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to evenly coat all the bread.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. These can be made a day in advance and kept in an airtight container.
While your croutons are baking, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Quarter the iceberg, removing any browning or saggy leaves. Use a knife to cut the small wedge of core away from each quarter.
Dice the tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.
Build the salad by placing your wedges on individual plates, or piling them all onto a serving platter. Then layer on the dressing (recipe below), diced tomatoes, bacon, and all the croutons (the real reason we’re all here, yes?).
Keywords: BLT salad, picnic food, summer salad, dinner salad
1000 Island Dressing
This dressing also pulls double duty on my BLT Wedge Salad. It’s sweet, zingy, and just a little bit spicy.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 0 Minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 Cup
- Category: dressing
¼ yellow or white onion, grated
½ C plain yogurt
½ C mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
2 small dill pickles, chopped fine (about ¼ cup)
2 T pickle brine
1 tsp honey
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Keywords: dressing, dip, sauce, easy, fast