Don’t call it a comeback! Iceberg’s been here for years. Yep, iceberg lettuce, the long-maligned and under-appreciated salad green is in vogue once more and with it, the Classic Wedge Salad. A thick wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with diced tomato, crumbled bacon and a creamy blue cheese dressing is the stuff steakhouse menus were once made of until fancier greens, like arugula and kale, stole the show. But iceberg’s back (not that it was ever really gone) and you need to get some. This salad’s waiting for you.
Iceberg Lettuce 101
Iceberg lettuce became the lettuce standard in the 40’s when it was developed specifically to endure cross country travel. Its name, in fact, comes from the piles of ice it was covered in when it was packed for travel.
One of the biggest myths about iceberg is that it’s a nutritional no-show. While it’ll never qualify as a superfood, iceberg does contain moderate amounts of vitamins A & K.
Iceberg Lettuce 101 – Cleaning Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is perfect for wedge salads because of its thick, crisp leaves naturally stacked and held together by a core. As bright and clean as it may look from the outside, those layered leaves can be filled with sand, dirt and bugs. Ick. How do you get rid of that without ruining your perfect wedges?
First, cut the head of lettuce into quarters. Run cold water over each quarter, using your fingers to gently separate the leaves to let the water inside. You can also place the quarters in a bowl of cold water, gently swishing them to loosen any bad stuff trapped inside. Remove the lettuce from the water and let drain on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Pat the lettuce dry before using. You don’t want excess water in your salad. A salad spinner, if you have one, will make sure your lettuce is completely dry.
Store rinsed iceberg lettuce in the fridge, wrapped in paper towels in a resealable plastic bag or container.
Classic Wedge Salad
A Classic Wedge Salad is a perfect storm of texture and flavor. On its own, iceberg doesn’t have a ton of flavor, hence the bacon, tomato and blue cheese dressing. What it does have is a crispness, a crunch even, to die for. Crunchy lettuce, creamy dressing, salty bacon, sweet tomatoes. Yes, yes and yes!
Separate the lettuce wedges to clean them thoroughly then re-stack the to assemble your salad. Sand and bugs (ick) are often nestled between the leaves.
Pat lettuce dry after rinsing. Soggy lettuce = not good.
Making Salad Dressing