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Wedge Salad – Once Upon a Chef

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Undeniably retro yet still fresh, the classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing is a steakhouse mainstay.

I cut my teeth in the restaurant business at a fine dining steakhouse in Washington, DC, where this classic wedge salad was a permanent menu fixture. Made from cool, crunchy wedges of iceberg lettuce drizzled with blue cheese dressing and topped with crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes, and chives, the wedge has long been a steakhouse mainstay. The salad became popular in the late 1950s/early 1960s and has enjoyed a bit of a comeback in recent years with lots of restaurant chefs putting their own spin on it. However, the retro version needs no improvement. It’s easy to make for a crowd when you have people over, and it makes a gorgeous presentation on a platter when served family-style. Pair the wedge with steaks, burgers, grilled or roasted chicken, or just good crusty bread.

What You’ll Need To Make Wedge Salad

ingredients to make wedge salad with blue cheese dressing

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cook the Bacon

I use the oven method to cook the bacon, which is the way to go when you’re cooking more than just a few slices. Simply lay the slices of bacon on a lined baking sheet (I use both foil and parchment for easy clean up and to prevent sticking).

bacon on foil and parchment-lined baking pan

Bake in a 400°F-oven for 14 to 18 minutes for regular bacon and 18 to 20 minutes for thick-cut bacon, rotating the baking sheet from front to back midway through cooking.

crispy cooked bacon

Remove the bacon from the oven and, using tongs, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.

bacon draining on paper towels

Step 2: Make the Blue Cheese Dressing

Combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic, and apple cider vinegar in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked blue cheese dressing baseStir in the blue cheese crumbles and chives. (Alternatively, if you’d prefer a smooth dressing with a more uniform blue cheese flavor, you can blend all of the ingredients except the chives in a food processor, and then stir in the chives.)

adding blue cheese and chives to the blue cheese dressing base

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

Cut the head of iceberg into wedges.

cutting lettuce into wedges

Slice the tomatoes and chives.

chives and tomatoes on cutting board

On a platter or individual plates, spoon the desired amount of dressing on each wedge (you may have some dressing leftover). Top with a quarter of the bacon pieces, tomatoes, chives, and crumbled blue cheese. The easiest way to eat a wedge salad is with a fork and knife.

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Wedge Salad

Undeniably retro yet still fresh, the classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing is a steakhouse mainstay.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 head chilled iceberg lettuce, cut into quarters, cored, and any limp outer leaves removed
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives

For the Blue Cheese Dressing

  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann’s or Duke’s
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon: Preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 13 x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty wide aluminum foil so that there is some overhang on all sides (this prevents the grease from getting onto the baking sheet), then cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Lay the slices of bacon on the baking sheet and bake for 14 to 18 minutes for regular bacon and 18 to 20 minutes for thick-cut bacon, rotating the baking sheet from front to back midway through cooking.
  2. Carefully remove the bacon from the oven and, using tongs, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board.
  3. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Make sure your blue cheese is crumbled into small pieces. Add to the mixture along with the chives and stir to combine. To incorporate some of the blue cheese crumbles more thoroughly, use the back of a spoon to mash them against the sides of the bowl, and then stir again. (Alternatively, if you want the dressing completely smooth, blend all of the ingredients except for the chives in a food processor, then stir in the chives.)
  4. To serve, on a platter or individual plates, spoon the desired amount of dressing over each wedge (you will likely have some dressing leftover). Top with a quarter of the bacon crumbles, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, and chives. The easiest way to eat a wedge salad is with a fork and knife.
  5. Note: If you have additional dressing, will keep nicely, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 584
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Sodium: 558 mg
  • Cholesterol: 42 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you’re following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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