Do you ever stop to think why ‘the classics’ are classic? I did just that while eating a salad the other day. Whether it’s clothing, music or food, the word ‘classic’ can usually be exchanged for timeless. There are some things that just stand the test of time – like the quintessential little black dress with peep toe pumps or “Bohemian Rhapsody” & “We are the Champions” by Queen. What about a good bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup or a piece of Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream? All of these never go “out of style”; they are classics. On the flip side, there’s a reason why (thankfully) we could go a forever without hearing “Achy Breaky, Heart “, see men start wearing jumpsuits again (or women in velour tracksuits- pick which is worse, right?) and foods turned into gastronomical foam —> they were all OUT as quickly as they were IN. Can I hear a “Thank Gawd!”
Everything is NOT destined to become a classic.
Some Chefs, & home gourmets, live and breathe by the classics & other run fast & far from them, wanting to create only the latest culinary crazes to amaze & dazzle their crowds … but it’s all good I say!! We need excitement, spice & variety in life. Me, I too love trying new techniques & cooking up the latest recipes from Savuer’s pages – sometimes. However, these days I tend to pull the classics close & bask in their comfort, warmth & their “hey, I know you” familiarity! At this point in my life journey, I subscribe to the thought process that we all need more ‘feel good’ in our life, right? I won’t say that I always stick to the exact recipe but I also don’venture far from the beaten path either. Sometimes, that (little) personal tweak is what makes it feel like mine, for me but also for those I cook for frequently. It’s just artistic license with food.
My final thoughts on this subject have me wondering what is the ‘magic formula’ for something becoming a classic? By definition classic is an “…outstanding example of a particular style; something of lasting worth with timeless quality; of the first or highest quality, class or rank…” Thus, for food at least, I simplify this to mean “don’t get crazy” (I just heard Bon Qui Qui in my head too). It means good, real, attainable ingredients prepared in a realistically practical way. Honor the food my friends; that’s what classic is all about! So now, for one of my favorite classics (in the salad category at least), I give you —> The Wedge Salad.
ENJOY!! AND OH … do you have my FREE 40 -RECIPE E-COOKBOOK. You will find this recipe PLUS 39 others. Get it HERE:
Classic Wedge Salad
My take on this time-honored classic. I take a few (small) liberties but mostly I stick to the basics! Enjoy this salad as a meal alone or as a great accompaniment to a steak dinner! Noteworthy point -- serve it COLD ... for some reason it's just better!
To my beginning point of serving it cold, when possible, if you stick to my guiding principle of 'mise en place', then you will prep ahead, refrigerate all parts for at least 30 minutes & then assemble to serve fresh. But, I won't lie, it's delicious no matter what!
TO START-- Crack the head of LETTUCE on the counter, core side down. Now remove the core. Easy, huh? Peel away the first (flimsy or dirty) outer leaves. Cut the head in half & then half again, leaving you with 4 wedges. Run under cool water & gently shake. I then lay them on a clean towel (or paper towels) to dry while I prepare the remaining parts.
The most time intensive part of this salad is cooking the BACON so if you do that ahead, prep time is minimal - that part is up to you! I like to cook some bacon off weekly anyway & keep some in the refrigerator for "bacon emergencies" you know ... Ha! I recommend cooking it IN THE OVEN. No muss, no fuss. 350 for 20-30 (flip once), Drain on paper towel
Cut up TINY TOMATOES (however you like). I like a dice for half & just halved for the rest. You get some pieces that cling to the wedge that way & some that are pretty on the plate. Cut GREEN ONION. I go fairly thin & don't use the top quarter or the whitest parts for this.
For the AVOCADO & the PECANS (remember, they are my add-ons, so omit if you want) Cut the avocado & pit. Rest the avocado in you palm & with a small pairing knife cut slices. Now scoop out (use spoon or you fingers) along the skin & fan slices onto plate. For the PECANS, I like small pieces for a salad. (Note* - I toss mine in honey, melted butter & sea salt at 350 for 15 minutes & keep in a jar in the cupboard as I use them on a lot of different things)
ASSEMBLE --> Place wedge of lettuce on the plate or a bowl that fits. Place avocado (if using) next to it. Now sprinkle tomatoes, bacon crumbs, bleu cheese, green onion & pecans over lettuce in desired amounts. Drizzle with bleu cheese dressing. Sprinkle with Salt & Cracked Pepper. Serve with crackers or bread.
(Note: this can be elevated by a small drizzle of aged balsamic in addition to the bleu cheese dressing -- it creates a symphony on your palette with all of the different flavors & textures!)