We all know that restaurant food usually costs far more than what you would pay to make the same thing yourself, and most of the time we’re OK with that. When it comes to things like good steak or seafood, it can make sense to have a professional chef perfectly cook an item of food whose base cost would still be relatively expensive even if you were to buy it at the store. This is especially true with ingredients like USDA Prime-graded steak or sushi-grade fish, which are often reserved for the food-service industry and thus are more difficult to attain.
Salad, on the other hand, is just the opposite. The menu item that vexes me most is the iceberg wedge. Basically it’s a wedge of iceberg lettuce slathered in blue cheese dressing and often garnished with small tomatoes and maybe some onions. It’s delicious and a fine complement to a hot summer day. But for the $10 or so restaurants can charge for this starter, it’s a rip off.
This salad is one of the easiest to make at home, and presents beautifully on a plate. Now you could just open a bottle of blue cheese dressing, hack up a head of lettuce and call it good, but it would be hard to call much of that “homemade.” Here’s where you come in, and the main portion of this recipe. We’re going to make bleu cheese dressing.
Yes, this tart, creamy, lip-smacking good dresser of salads can be made at home, and it’s way easier than you think. If you can combine a few ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together, you can make this. For this recipe, I give the dressing a little kick by adding some drops of hot sauce. I use Frank’s RedHot, like the kind served with buffalo wings, but you could just as easily add Tabasco sauce or any other of your choosing, or none at all for a traditional blue cheese dressing.
After the dressing is made, all you’ll have to do is quarter a head of lettuce, drizzle on the dressing and garnish with tomatoes, onions and bacon bits. And hey, since it’s summer and this is meant to be a no-heat recipe, I’ll even let you get away with buying the bacon bits vs. making them yourself. You might end up liking this salad so much that you charge your guests $10 a plate for it.
BUFFALO BLUE CHEESE DRESSING ON A WEDGE
(Makes 4 servings)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcester sauce
- 1 teaspoon buffalo-style wing sauce, or to taste
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, or to taste
Garlic salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, stripped of outer leaves and stem, and cut into quarters
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup bacon bits
Step 1: Put all the ingredients for the dressing except the blue cheese crumbles in a bowl. Now whisk until everything’s blended.
Step 2: Add the blue cheese crumbles and whisk again. There, you just made blue cheese dressing. Taste it and add anything extra to your liking, i.e. more lemon juice, garlic salt, hot sauce, etc. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for use later the same day.
Step 3: Assemble the iceberg wedges on four plates and top with the dressing, then garnish with the tomatoes, onions, bacon bits and, if desired, additional blue cheese crumbles.
Congratulations: You’ve just made a popular appetizer salad in your own home for much cheaper than buying it at a restaurant. And you didn’t even have to turn on a stove.