Tuesday, April 9

Loaded Wedge Salad

I usually eat simple salads that focus on highlighting a few fresh ingredients but I’m a real sucker for a loaded wedge salad. This is a slightly de-constructed and updated take on the classic featuring leaves of butter lettuce (over the traditional iceberg), chunky, creamy blue cheese dressing, chopped tomatoes, bacon bits, and crispy fried onion strings. The onion strings are my brother’s recipe and super low-maintenance as far as deep frying goes – no complicated batter or deep-fry thermometer needed – and taste as good on their own as they do in the salad. The wedge is filling enough to serve as a main course, although it would make a real show-stopper at a potluck.

Loaded Wedge Salad:
For Dressing
  • Combine 3-4 oz. crumbled blue cheese with 1/4 c. creme fraiche and 1 tbsp. buttermilk.
  • Whisk to combine, slightly mashing the cheese into the dressing, and season with salt and pepper.
For Onion Rings
  • Heat 1 1/2" of canola oil in a saucepan until very hot but not quite smoking.
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice 1 small yellow onion into rings.*
  • In a shallow bowl, combine 2 c. flour with 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper and stir to combine.
  • Working in batches, place some of the onion rings into the flour, then dip into a bowl of 2 c. buttermilk, then coat back in the flour.
  • Shake off any excess flour and carefully add to the hot oil.**
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning once, or until crispy and golden brown.
  • Remove onion rings with a slotted spoon and immediately season with salt.
  • Keep onion rings on a baking rack on top of a sheet pan in a 200F oven while frying the remaining batches.
For Salad
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add in 1/2 lb. diced bacon.
  • Cook bacon for 7-10 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy.
  • Let bacon drain on paper towels.
  • Arrange 4-4 large leaves of butter lettuce onto two plates and drizzle with the blue cheese dressing and some extra blue cheese crumbles.
  • Scatter 1 chopped tomato and the bacon over top, then add a few onion rings.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves two (main course)
Serves four - six (side dish)
*I like to use a mandoline and cut it 1/4" thick.
**Oil should sizzle and bubble up around the rings immediately when you drop the onions in.