Spring is the season of rebirth, the season of renewal, the season for a good makeover. In the spirit of seasonal reinvention, I decided to give that classic American steakhouse staple, the wedge salad, a little springtime facelift.
I started at the top, swapping out the standard blue cheese dressing for homemade green goddess dressing, a supremely light, creamy concoction made with garden-fresh herbs. Instead of blue cheese crumbles, I used a deliciously tangy herbed goat cheese. I could only find normal red radishes for my salad at the store, but if you happen upon any beautiful radishes with striking colors, like watermelon radishes, they will make your wedge salad look extra special and extra spring-like. Since a wedge salad wouldn’t be complete without bacon (and since I don’t think bacon can be improved upon), it got to stay.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the changes made to the croutons, now homemade. Croutons are the best part of any salad, in my opinion, and homemade croutons are so easy that I decided to add some to my springtime wedge. While everything-bagel seasoning isn’t particularly spring-ish, it certainly makes everything it touches extra amazing, and croutons are no exception.
The last thing I overhauled was the actual wedge-ness of the wedge salad. When chatting with my parents about it, my mom pointed out that wedge salads have a massive amount of lettuce in each serving, enough to be an entire meal, and my dad pointed out that because of the wedge’s sloping surfaces, the toppings tend to just roll off. So, instead of cutting the iceberg lettuce into big wedges, I cut it into thick slices—basically iceberg lettuce steaks. That gave me a flat surface that could successfully be piled high with delicious toppings and just enough lettuce to make a satisfying salad that still left room for an entrée and dessert.
Spring Wedge Salad with Green Goddess Dressing and Everything-Bagel Croutons
Swapping out the traditional ingredients for ones more suited to new tastes, including the actual shape of the salad, turns this proverbial “rabbit food” into something much more scrumptious.
For the dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chives
3 tablespoons tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons:
1 seeded baguette
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons everything-bagel seasoning
For the salad:
1 head iceberg lettuce
radishes, thinly sliced
carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
green onion, minced (white and light green parts only)
bacon, cooked and crumbled
herbed goat cheese, crumbled
To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and green. There will still be little flecks of herbs visible. Pour into a small container, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the baguette and cut each slice into bite-sized cubes. Combine baguette cubes, olive oil, and everything-bagel seasoning in a large bowl and toss until baguette cubes are evenly coated. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Wash and dry the lettuce. Slice it in half from top to bottom. Cut out the core, then lay each half cut-side down on the cutting board and cut into slices 1-2 inches thick. To assemble the salad, lay a big slice of lettuce down on a plate, topping it with dressing, radishes, carrots, green onions, crumbled bacon, goat cheese, and croutons.