I have come to realize that a majority of my favorite foods have come from my Dad. Favorite ice cream – pistachio. Favorite cake – carrot. (Maybe this is where my sweet tooth also comes from!!!) Favorite salad – wedge. A wedge is a beautiful thing because it is SUCH a SIMPLE salad. Almost like a lazy restaurant salad. The antithesis of today’s chopped salad craze. A wedge of iceberg, tomato, bacon, blue cheese – dressing on the side. Some places do onion. If I were to add onion, I’d prefer a pickled red onion. But for Friday night’s dinner I had a lot of mouths to feed, and wanted to make a wedge that would A. feed everyone B. let me use the remaining avocado from my week’s grocery order and C. look pretty.
The only two components you need to prep for this dish are the bacon and the tomatoes but the tomato prep is totally optional. Beautiful, tri-color heirloom baby tomatoes can always be simply sliced in half. I chose to roast mine with garlic and olive oil (for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees) because I enjoy contrasting temperatures in salad. I love a warm topping on a cold salad. This is totally my preference and I think I have great taste.
For the bacon, again, always use a sheet pan with a rack, and roast the bacon in the oven, also at 400 degrees, for 20 minutes. One of the benefits of baking bacon this way is the underlying rack will capture all of the bacon grease. I always store this remaining bacon grease in a glass container and use it for roasting Brussels sprouts or cabbage! I get very upset when housekeepers dispense of said glass container as I usually leave it sitting out on the counter, which is probably not the best place to leave it, but it reminds me to use it. This is what one considers “liquid gold” after they have graduated from breast-feeding.
Assembly. I cut an entire head of iceberg lettuce into eight equal edges and try to arrange them flat-ish on a large serving dish. The flatness of each section of lettuce is important because it allows each guest to take an entire WEDGE of lettuce (get it?) with all of the accoutrements. Over the lettuce you will layer your roasted tomato, chopped crispy bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and in this case – avocado (of course, that has been tossed in lemon juice and a bit of sea salt).
I typically like to serve my wedge with a vinaigrette-style dressing as opposed to a creamy blue cheese dressing. For me a quick mustard vinaigrette uses 1 tB. grainy mustard, 2 tb. apple cider vinegar, 3 tB. olive oil, salt and pepper. If no one is pregnant I love throwing an egg yolk in there as well to emulsify the dressing, but for this particular dinner, I was drawn in by a new find at Whole Foods – Tessamae’s Organic Habanero Ranch – it was a serious winner. It is also shockingly spicy in a good way. This is me telling my friends about it.