Technically, what makes a wedge salad is cutting an iceberg lettuce head into four wedges. For whatever reason I’ve yet to learn, most recipes for wedge salad have a pretty specific ingredient list: bacon, blue cheese dressing, tomatoes and onions atop iceberg lettuce quarters.
Not that I’m complaining. Bacon is always delicious, and I hardly consider a lettuce-based salad that doesn’t include tomatoes as a real salad. Plus, people can always add to the base with any variety of ingredients that they see fit. I’m partial to avocado.
While I compiled my best-ever wedge salad from many recipes to ensure I had considered possible variations, some of the best suggestions came from “Serious Eats.” Because raw onions can be a bit intense, and a typical topping, I liked the suggestion to quick-pickle onions by covering diced red onions with white vinegar while preparing the rest of the meal.
But the best suggestion was to replace croutons with toasted bread crumbs. Even better, they’re toasted in bacon fat. Genius!
Here’s my go-to recipe. Feel free to tweak with your favorite ingredients.
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into four wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small onion, diced
White vinegar, optional
2 avocados, diced
8 ounces bacon, cooked and reserving the fat
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (there will be leftovers)
Chives, for topping
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
To quick-pickle red onions, dice and place in a small bowl. Cover onions with white vinegar; let sit while you prepare remaining ingredients. Drain before serving.
You can use blue cheese dressing, but I like to make it — albeit the simple way. Mash blue cheese crumbles in a small bowl. Add in ranch dressing and stir to combine. If it’s a little thick, add a little bit of lemon juice.
Cook bacon, reserving fat. Then, toss in breadcrumbs and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
Once bacon is cool enough to handle, break into pieces.
To serve, place lettuce quarters on a plate. Top with dressing and then a fourth (or to taste) of each of avocados, bacon, tomatoes and onions. Add on breadcrumbs and then chopped chives, if desired, and enjoy!