I remember, with a twinge of shame, scolding my friend Bryan for eating iceberg lettuce. “It has no food value!,” I squawked, ”You should eat mixed greens instead or romaine at the very least.”
Bryan, I’ve changed my mind. Remember those baby greens – the one’s you call ‘weed salad’ – I still love them, but I admit, iceberg is pretty darn good.
Perhaps iceberg lettuce isn’t loaded with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber of kale or green leaf lettuce. But really, who cares? It’s not junk food. More importantly, it’s cold, crunchy, delicious, and fun to eat sliced in a big wedge then drizzled with blue cheese dressing and sprinkled with crumbled bacon.
If you grew up in the United States and this salad makes you feel nostalgic, it should. It’s been on restaurant menus here since 1916. But why leave it to restaurants when you can make it at home in 5 minutes flat. Guests coming? What a fun way to begin a meal. Who doesn’t want to slice in to their own big wedge of salad, scooping up tangy blue cheese crumbles and salty bits of bacon?
Bacon, that’s the other thing I want to talk to you about. Have I told you that I love bacon for recipes? It’s amazing how a tiny bit of bacon can transform salad, soup, pasta, frittata; shall I continue?
We buy bacon from a local farm and I don’t want to admit what we pay per pound. But it’s worth it to know that during the pig’s lives they get to root around outside and do piggy things. Because of the expense and because it’s probably not healthy to gorge ourselves on bacon, I use it sparingly. The best way I know to do this is to cook it up all at once, crumble it or cut it into lardons (thin crosswise slices), and keep it in the freezer.
If you’ve never cooked bacon in the oven, I recommend trying it. There are many benefits: the bacon cooks evenly, no splatter around your burners, you can work on something else while it cooks, it’s a great way to cook bacon for a crowd. Just preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set an oven proof rack on top. Arrange bacon slices on the rack, giving them a bit of space between. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or to your desired crispness. Then serve, or use what you need and freeze the rest.
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- milk (for thinning dressing)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- To make the dressing, add sour cream, blue cheese, and lemon juice to a small bowl. Use a fork to combine the ingredients, smashing the blue cheese crumbles against the side of the bowl to infuse the sour cream with flavor.
- Add chives to dressing and stir to combine. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.
- Season dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside.
- For the salad, remove any wilted or brown leaves from the head of lettuce.
- Cut the head in half (geez that sounds sinister) starting from the top and slicing down through the core. Then cut each half in half again so that each wedge has ¼ of the core.
- Place each wedge on a separate salad plate.
- Spoon desired amount of dressing over each wedge.
- Sprinkle each wedge with ¼ of the bacon crumbles. Serve.
- Serves 4