A staple of blue-plate specials in diners around the US, wedge salads aren’t fancy, but there’s something inexplicably rewarding about sinking a steak knife through the crisp layers of iceberg lettuce and bringing a bite of the chilled lettuce drizzled with rich, creamy blue cheese dressing to your lips. Speckled with savory bits of blue cheese and crunchy bacon, the layers of textures and flavors bely its undeniably cheap roots.
As you might have guessed, I’m a big fan of wedge salads, but I often find myself wishing for something just a little sweet to contrast the salt cheese and bacon. I recently found myself with more blueberries than I knew what to do with, and adding them to the plate not only made for a great photo, the sweet tangy berries took this humble wedge salad to another level.
If there’s anything to dislike about this salad, it’s usually the blue cheese dressing. Whether it’s the visible mold or the pungent funk, I know there are a lot of people out there that just can’t handle blue cheese. I was definitely in that camp at one point, but like many things, it’s an acquired taste. To make this dressing more palatable to blue cheese novices, I use a blend of blue cheese with Marscarpone cheese. In addition to adding creaminess and body to the dressing, the Marscarpone rounds out the funky edge that blue cheese can have. If however, you’re a die-hard blue cheese fanatic, by all means, skip the Marscarpone and go 100% blue cheese.
Because blue cheese can vary widely in salinity I’ve left out a salt measure from the dressing, but as with anything you cook, taste things every step of the way. This includes checking to see how salty the blue cheese is before you start the dressing, tasting as you make the dressing, adjusting the taste and texture to your liking, and then giving it a final taste before pouring it on the salad.
- 1 head Iceberg lettuce
- 90 grams slab bacon (cut into 1/4-inch batons)
- 50 grams Maytag blue cheese
- 50 grams Mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- Wash the lettuce, then cut it in half through the middle of the stem. Cut the halves in half again through the stem, then put the quartered lettuce in a large bowl of ice water. This not only chills the lettuce, it will make the lettuce extra crisp.
- Fry the bacon until crisp and drain on a paper towel.
- To make the dressing, crumble the blue cheese into a small bowl, then add the Marscarpone, yogurt, mayonnaise, and milk. Stir together until combined, leaving a few chunks of blue cheese. If you want your dressing to be more pungent, you can leave out the marscapone and just use 100 grams of blue cheese. Taste the dressing and add salt as needed.
- To assemble the salad, drain the wedges of lettuce well, shaking out any excess water. Drizzle some dressing on top, then sprinkle the bacon, and blueberries on top. Finish with some fresh ground black pepper. You can also crumble on more blue cheese.