Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elegant Wedge Salad


I wouldn’t consider the following a recipe, I would say it is more or less a set of directions for top notch assembling. Even if you absolutely hate blue cheese and blue cheese dressing, pay attention to the directions and read the variations below so you don’t miss out. There are many ways to use this type of salad set up to your advantage.

What I love most about this salad is that it is one of the hundred off beat semi-homemade recipes I have up my sleeve that will help you create the fantastic allusion of Top Chef capabilities. This simple salad adds a special touch of class to a meal without putting any extra stress on the cook. You have the ability to focus on your overly complicated main course, side dishes and/or desserts and can throw this together in under a minute.

Ingredients:
1 small head Iceberg, Butterhead or Batavian lettuce
1 jar Marzetti chunky blue cheese dressing
1 small container crumbled blue cheese
Fresh cracked black pepper

I have a ton of fantastic from scratch dressing recipes, including a killer blue cheese, but keep in mind that I’m using prepared for ease. I like using Marzetti dressings because I’ve found that they are extremely close to the high grade from scratch dressings you will find in high end restaurants, but feel free to use your own favorite brands.



Directions:
Take your head of lettuce and cut off the hard root end and then quarter it into four wedges. Lay each wedge on a chilled salad plate and spoon a few tablespoons of the chunky blue cheese dressing over it. Add a crack or two of the fresh milled pepper and then sprinkle with the fresh crumbled blue cheese. That is seriously it ~ an effortless restaurant style salad in seconds. A small side note: I like to add the pepper before the crumbled blue cheese in case anyone is a picker like I am. I will nibble on a few pieces of the cheese before cutting into my salad and would hate for a guest to hit a spicy peppered piece of blue cheese.



Variations:
There is a lot of room for creativity and an endless number of variations, but here are some of my self-created favorites. Always start with a chilled salad plate and a wedge of any type of lettuce head, then add…

*Marzetti Asian Ginger Dressing, diced dried pineapple and crunchy Chow Mein noodles

*Marzetti Creamy Caesar Dressing, slightly crushed croutons, fresh cracked black pepper and parmesan cheese

*Marzetti Poppy Seed Dressing and toasted pine nuts

*Marzetti Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing, goat cheese and thin sliced toasted almonds

*Marzetti Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing and cooked crumbled bacon

*Marzetti Ultimate Gorgonzola Dressing, dried cranberries and chopped candied walnuts

Later this week I’ll share one of my killer salmon recipes. It pairs perfectly with every one of the wedge salads mentioned in this post.