Chef Ninamarie Bojekian says, “I have a perpetual weakness for the wedge salad. You can commonly find me ordering it when having a casual meal at a bar [likely to be accompanied by martinis & oysters].
First off, I love the fact that I get to use a steak knife to cut into crispy compact lettuce. The wedge salad excites me. It fills me. And most importantly, I get to eat blue cheese. Simple. Retro. And in a peculiar way, chic.
This is my version of the classic wedge – and it’s become a favorite among my family, friends and clients.
Instead of using iceberg lettuce, try it with romaine. Then, grill the romaine. It yields such a nutty enchanting hint of flavor. It’s so simple, but I find it so magical. Instead of dousing it with a thick blue cheese dressing, try it with a little crumbled blue cheese. Then, top it with a fresh lemon Dijon dressing. It yields such a light savory zing.
Summer always makes me want to ‘nosh’… to prepare a spread, a schmorgesborg. Or as they say in my house “meze”. Maybe it’s my excitement for the better weather. Maybe it’s because there is a lot of great produce coming into season. Rather than working around a main protein/entree, try preparing a couple of fun, healthy and seasonal dishes to be served all together. It makes for a special supper and creates an interactive meal.
**This time, I served it with some quick Scallion Pancakes.
**See recipe & steps for these hot cakes below**
Here are some other ideas to serve the wedge with to create an all vegetarian spread: chilled soups [i.e. vichyssoise or yogurt soup], bean or lentil salads, tabouli, deviled eggs [or a fancy version], grilled pita & tzatziki sauce, grilled or steamed artichokes, grilled zucchini, etc.”
GRILLED ROMAINE WEDGE SALAD
Serves 4-6 [depending on how many hearts each person wants]
3 Romaine Heads, washed & cut in half lengthwise
1 Large Lemon, juiced
¼ Cup Olive Oil [plus a tad more]
2 TBS Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper, to taste
4-6 TBS Blue Cheese, preferably maytag
5 Radishes, thinly slices
Tomatoes, your pick, just slice some up
1 Small Onion, your pick again, just thinly sliced
Grill them—heat your grill on high. It can be an outdoor grill or stove top grill [if you don’t have a grill on hand, you can just use a griddle or pan if need be]. Brush the cut side of each romaine wedge with a little olive oil. Place cut side down of wedge on heated grill. Let romaine grill until a nice char is achieved; about 1-2 minutes. Remove & set aside.
For the dressing—this is such a versatile dressing. If you have a little left over after this recipe, then lucky you! Add the lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper in a small container with a lid, such as tupperware. Cover then shake well. That’s it. There you have it.
Now assemble—divide desired amount of grilled romaine on each plate. Top each wedge with desired amount of radishes, tomatoes, blue cheese and onions. Drizzle over appropriate amount of dressing and serve!
Scallion Pancakes [a quick version made w/ store bought puff pastry dough]
Makes 8 Pancakes
1 Package of Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets, such as puffpastry
8 Scallions, thinly sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Oil for frying, such as canola or vegetable
Flour, for work surface
Defrost pastry sheets. Then do steps following steps:
(1) Take 1 sheet and sprinkle half of the scallions and garlic on top. Then roll up.
(2) Roll the log in a tight crescent spiral.
(3) With a rolling pin, roll out tight crescent spiral to a flat dough. Then repeat steps 1, 2 & 3 [minus adding more scallions].
(4) Divide dough into four separate balls. It’s ideal to let dough rest for at least 30 minutes [if you can’t wait, then by all means, roll a head]. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a flat pancake [the thinner the better].
(5) Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure it’s nice and evenly hot. Place the rolled out pancake in the oil to fry. Cook until crispy brown, then flip; about 1.5 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt & serve!