I know iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap, but I am a huge fan of wedge salads. I like to order them when I go to steakhouses. Something about blue cheese and tomatoes always seems like the perfect precursor to a juicy steak. When I received a sample of Roquefort blue cheese from Ile de France, these flavors came to mind, and a wedge salad was the first thing I wanted to make. (A juicy steak was the second, though I didn't end up making one.)
I started envisioning the combination of crispy bacon, robust Roquefort blue cheese, crunchy iceberg lettuce, and sweet tomatoes -- except here it is in the middle of December, and sweet tomatoes are not so easy to come by. My first thought was to make some slow-roasted tomatoes in the oven, but I wanted my salad ready that same night, and roasting tomatoes for 5 to 6 hours after work was not going to fly. I thought I could start with grape tomatoes, which tend to be sweeter and more resilient than other tomatoes during the winter months, and quickly roast them to release a little more flavor. This worked, not only to brighten the tomato flavor but also to add a warm element to the salad.
I liked the idea of adding some warm components to this winter salad and also fried some shallots (in bacon grease leftover from crisping some bacon for the salad) to throw on top.
I wanted the Roquefort to pop and I didn't want the salad to be too heavy, so in lieu of making a blue cheese dressing, I chopped and tossed the cheese on top of the iceberg lettuce and then drizzled some high-quality balsamic vinegar on top.
Winter Wedge Salad With Roquefort Blue Cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 slices bacon
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 ounce Ile de France Roquefort blue cheese, crumbled or chopped
Balsamic vinegar (or balsamic vinaigrette)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss grape tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.
Reduce heat to medium, and add shallots to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned. Transfer to plate with bacon.
Remove core from lettuce, and cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Distribute the slices among four plates.
Dividing them evenly among the four plates, pile the tomatoes on top of the lettuce slices and sprinkle bacon, shallots, and Roquefort on top.
Drizzle each salad with a little balsamic vinegar, and serve.
Don't forget to enter my Ile de France cheese giveaway!
Do you like wedge salads?