Much like fashion, in food there are trends that come and go, or dishes that disappear into the dark corners of yellowed recipe cards, hopefully never to return. I’m looking at you, Ring Around the Tuna jelly mold salad.
Speaking of salad – I can’t be the only one who’s noticed the return of a classic to a number of bistro restaurant menus lately, can I? Welcome back, iceberg lettuce wedge salad. Welcome back.
As a kid, a triangular wedge of iceberg lettuce would occasionally appear on the side of something such as fish and chips, or maybe a plate of spaghetti. It was the requisite fresh veggie when there was nothing else fresh around. And it was a treat because slathering it in Miracle Whip was permitted, or on fancier evenings, the bottle of Thousand Island dressing was plopped on the table.
It was a simple pleasure in a simpler world. Some of the best Swedish Chef bits on the Muppet Show (I am most definitely dating myself here) involved lettuce. Oh, to be a kid again.
The wedge salad has been elevated to a new level of flavour and, if you’re in the right place, theatrics. Why order a Caesar salad that might be tossed table side when a head of lettuce can be brought out to be sliced into quarters right in front of your eyes? I get it. It’s lettuce. The simplest lettuce, to boot.
But how utterly cool and sublimely retro to point to your wedge of choice and then watch it be dressed exactly to your liking? It’s like having your own one-on-one salad bar at the table.
The classic is bleu cheese dressing, gracefully drawn over the wedge, followed by bacon bits, fresh tomatoes, chives, and maybe crumbles of bleu cheese.
Or go for a sweet and spicy version, with tomatoes, cucumber, edamame and avocado slices with a dressing of Greek yogurt, garlic, balsamic vinegar (white, if you have it), and fresh lime juice. Finish it with fresh pepper.
How about throwing some grilled shrimp into the equation? A garlic aioli dressing, maybe a strip or two of bacon in repose across the wedge, fresh parsley, and lemon wedges on the side.
Make a cilantro-citrus dressing (mayo, cilantro, sour cream, garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice) for a Mexican cuisine inspired version with sweet peppers and corn that has been freshly grilled and shucked, and shredded cheddar.
For a pseudo dessert option, grilled peaches and corn with a balsamic goat cheese or gorgonzola whipped dressing.
Forget taco night this summer. Invite your crew over for wedge salad night and put all of these options out for everyone to explore.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.