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The Iceberg Lettuce Wedge


fifi
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Over in The Heartland forum, I reported on a recent dining experience at Lindey's in Columbus, OH that included the ancient and venerable lettuce wedge.

My son's wedge was a picture to behold but not nearly as much as to chomp. The dressing was just creamy enough without being cloying. The gorgonzola was divine. And . . . Oh! . . . That bacon! Do not, dear readers, sniff at the lowly iceberg wedge. This place has elevated it to a work of art. I could have had two and called it dinner.

Since my return, I have made this for myself about three times. (I left out the tomato, though.) I have now decided to resurrect this thing for my repertoire. I am really liking the textural contrasts and the presentation can be fairly impressive.

So far, I have just been doing the classic with the blue cheese and bacon, if that is the classic. I just remember it being sort of a steakhouse staple around here many years ago but I don't remember any specific variations. I am thinking of a variation based on a salad that my mother used to make when I was a kid. She would put pineapple slices on a bed of shredded iceberg, a dollop of mayonaise slightly sweetened with pineapple juice, and a sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar. I loved that stuff. As I think of other possible variations on the venerable wedge, more and more questions come to mind.

Who started this anyway? And when?

Was there a "classic?"

Is it seeing a rebirth?

If you have run into it, what variations have you seen?

Read . . . crunch . . . and discuss. :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My SIL used to do that with a pear half instead of the pineapple. It was delicious. I'll be trying the wedge with blue cheese next week--the kids will be home for the week-end - YEA!!!

Stop Family Violence

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The "classic" I remember was the wedge with thousand island dressing. My Granny used to love it and I only remember having it at her house. What the heck is thousand island dressing anyway? :blink:

-Linda

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I dig iceberg salads. Iceberg makes a great base for a salad loaded with Italian meats, olive salad, onions, peppers, and a red wine-oregano vinaigrette--a sort of Italian sub/muffaletta without the bread. I enjoyed the iceberg wedge with green goddess dressing at a local restaurant a few months ago too (Buck's Fishing and Camping). It can't be beat for Asian pork wraps or as a base for grilled burger patties. I'm a slow convert--I think I mocked Varmint for having it in his fridge once--but a convert nonetheless.

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Salads are only the tip of the iceberg has some interesting insights into this type of lettuce ... :wink: many are by Fifi even!  :laugh:

Thanks for finding that one, GG. I had forgotten about it and the darn search engine seems to have ignored "iceberg." Anyway . . . Here I want to explore the wedge.

I had forgotten about the thousand island dressing. Ick! I have never been a fan though my mother considered it a pantry staple. Why am I thinking that it is mayo, ketchup and pickle relish?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I had forgotten about the thousand island dressing. Ick! I have never been a fan though my mother considered it a pantry staple. Why am I thinking that it is mayo, ketchup and pickle relish?

What's remoulade other than a refined (and the original) version of Thousand Island (or, as we called it when I was a kid, Russian, to which we added Tabasco rather than pickle relish)?

And does anyone remember Milan's 1890 salad dressing? I think it's still available.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I had forgotten about the thousand island dressing. Ick! I have never been a fan though my mother considered it a pantry staple. Why am I thinking that it is mayo, ketchup and pickle relish?

Because that's pretty much what it is? :biggrin: Ick is right.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The "classic" I remember was the wedge with thousand island dressing.  My Granny used to love it and I only remember having it at her house.  What the heck is thousand island dressing anyway?  :blink:

-Linda

well it depends on who u ask...but ive always thought of it as a lend of ketchup, mayo and some sort of pickle relish..... :laugh: ...which by the way is the so called secret sauce mcdonalds uses... :laugh: ...not that i didnt think that secret got out a long time ago.....lol

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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Charlie's Steakhouse in New Orleans serves the wedge topped with the best blue chees dressing on earth. This salad would be enjoyable on it's on, but the fact that it is served up by the same charming and efficient woman who has been delivering it to me since I was a young lad, Dottye Bennett. She is, and I do not say this lightly or without forethought, one of my greatest all time heros in the New Orleans culinary world.

The salad is good. The meat is good. Dottye makes it all worthwhile.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Ah . . . It has been many years since I have frequented Charlie's. Maybe that is where I get the impression that the "classic" wedge is served with blue cheese.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I had forgotten about the thousand island dressing. Ick! I have never been a fan though my mother considered it a pantry staple. Why am I thinking that it is mayo, ketchup and pickle relish?

Because that's pretty much what it is? :biggrin: Ick is right.

oh come now......its not so bad. store bought is crap, but i actually like to make my own. cut back on the sweet ketchup, add grated onion, tabasco, lea&perrins and i quite like it. must be someone out there who doesn't think ick...

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I don't think "ick" of thousand island. I grew up on it, and still make it occasionally for comfort. My mom made it for EVERY salad, I swear!! She never, ever bought store dressing. She just mixed ketchup, mayo and relish and viola! pour it over iceberg lettuce and there it is.

So, count me as a non ick.

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Ok. Ok. So I will have to make my own and judge from that. Anybody got a favorite recipe?

Was Thousand Island dressing the original dressing on the wedge?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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http://www.1000-islands.com/tours/dressing.htm

I started to look it up, because though I know the simple recipe, it seemed in my memory that there was a more complicated one. It included what was listed above plus Worcestershire sauce, finely diced onion, and some chopped fresh. . .(something. . .tarragon? Thyme? Can't remember. . .) along with several other ingredients.

Anyway, didn't end up with the recipe (yet) but thought this was rather fun! :smile:

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When I was at school, lettuce wedges were available at every lunch and dinner. The story was that an alumna had endowed a "lettuce fund" so that there would always be something to eat when the main course offerings were not what you wanted. (For doesn't everyone like lettuce?). I like mine with blue cheese.

BTW, here is an interesting discussion of Thousand Island dressing that quotes newspaper articles from as early as 1913. The following could still be true today...

8 July 1914, Iowa Recorder (Greene, Iowa), pg. 7, col. 2:

Thousand Isle Dressing – From the number of salad dressings bearing this name one must be named for each island. The dressing is a simple French dressing as above with the addition of chopped onion, celery, peppers with some catsup; in fact, anything may be added and named a Thousand Isle dressing.

"It is a fact that he once made a tray of spanakopita using Pam rather than melted butter. Still, though, at least he tries." -- David Sedaris
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My mother was pretty much a "scratch" cook but the Thousand Island was Kraft. I don't really hate it that much, I just don't like it that much. I will explore the recipes.

I submitted a question regarding the history to Ochef.com to see what they come up with. Searching their site, it appears that this question hasn't come up so perhaps I will get a reply. If I do, I will post it.

(BTW. . . that is a cool info site.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My mother was pretty much a "scratch" cook but the Thousand Island was Kraft. I don't really hate it that much, I just don't like it that much. I will explore the recipes.

I submitted a question regarding the history to Ochef.com to see what they come up with. Searching their site, it appears that this question hasn't come up so perhaps I will get a reply. If I do, I will post it.

(BTW. . . that is a cool info site.)

thanks for the link, now i will be up till all hours exploring. fun, fun, fun

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I had the wedge with homemade thousand island dressing. It was better than I remembered, maybe because I made the dressing. And it has that added bonus of being devoid of nutritional value, so there's the little thrill of eating "bad" food. I had childhood lettuce flashbacks throughout the entire experience.

I had a really hard time buying the lettuce. When I was little, we had iceberg lettuce salads, but then it got banned when my Mom embraced the health food movement. Iceberg was pronounced evil for having no vitamins, and from that time on we were a romaine family. This is the first time in my life that I've purchased a head, and I can say that I had the same sort of guilt as I do when I buy the giant bag of Cheetos. You know, bury it in the cart under more "healthy" food, peek around to make sure no one I know is in the store and hope the check out person doesn't judge too harshly.

I got it home, washed it, and then gave it that nice smack on the counter to get the stem out. When I was too little to do much else in the kitchen, that was my job. Brutalizing lettuce and putting it in that green tupperware container with the green spiky thing. I wonder if you can still buy those?

Thanks Fifi! I had fun with this one. I think I'll have another salad. :biggrin:

-Linda

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. . . Brutalizing lettuce and putting it in that green tupperware container with the green spiky thing.  I wonder if you can still buy those?. . .

OMG! We still have one of those and it's in use at this very moment. Does the spikey thing actually do anything? :biggrin:

I don't know if you can still buy them.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Oh my. I had forgotten about the Tupperware lettuce holder with the spikey thing. My mother had one though I don't know where she would have gotten it. From my junior high school years on she was a professional woman and the thought of her at a Tupperware party does not coincide with reality. However, I am sure the thing lurks in the warehouse full of "stuff" that we are still dealing with. I think the spikey thing is meant to keep the head up above any water that may collect in the bottom so the lettuce didn't get yucky. It seems to have worked very well, actually.

I did the long forgotten smashing of the stem and cutting into quarters. Into a zip baggie into the fridge and I am ready to indulge at whim. Hmmm . . . Shopping note . . . Must get more bacon. :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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