Steakhouse Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

I’ve always shied away from mayonnaise, from ranch dressing and sour cream. I’m a little afraid of buttermilk unless it’s whipped into a muffin or a biscuit. I cringe when I discover mysterious creamy sauces on my burgers or sandwiches.

But recently, when out to dinner with my parents at Portland’s Laurelhurst Market, I realized I may have a weakness for good blue cheese dressing. We ordered a wedge salad to go with our buttery bavette steaks, and there was something addictive about it. The tangy blue cheese on the simple iceberg chunks, dusted with crispy shallots and bacon—if ever there was a junk-food salad, that was it, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Much to my delight, this dressing doesn’t include (scary) mayo or (disturbing) buttermilk—it’s just high-quality blue cheese stirred into creamy submission with the help of fresh lemon juice, sherry vinegar, and olive oil. You could dribble it on anything—grilled portobellos or eggplant, perhaps, or even on a baked potato. But it’s simply awesome on iceberg lettuce, so good we kept interrupting our dinner conversation to praise it.

We skipped the steak this time—when you’ve got blue cheese and bacon, I’m not sure you need anything more.

Steakhouse Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
adapted from Nora Singley/The Kitchn
serves three to four

Note: If you don’t eat bacon, you could substitute turkey bacon and/or toasted walnuts.

for dressing:
1/2 cup freshly crumbled blue cheese (I like Great Hill Blue, don’t buy pre-crumbled)
zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
pepper to taste

for salad:
1 head iceberg lettuce
4 radishes
1 small sweet red pepper
1 English cucumber
1 small shallot

for garnish:
2 strips bacon
chives
additional blue cheese

Put the blue cheese in a small bowl, then add lemon zest, juice, and sherry vinegar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil and stir to emulsify. Dressing should be thick but drizzle-able—add up to 2 teaspoons more olive oil if needed, and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Remove core and any damaged leaves from iceberg lettuce, then cut into chunks. Submerge in ice water in a salad spinner for a few minutes to crisp, then drain and spin dry. Place in a large salad bowl.

While you prep the vegetables, fry bacon until crispy, then chop or crumble into small pieces. Set aside. Slice radishes and red pepper paper thin and add to the salad. Remove ends from cucumber and cut into small cubes, and add to the bowl. Dice shallot and add to the bowl. Toss salad to mix ingredients—don’t add the dressing yet.

Chop chives and crumble blue cheese for garnish. Arrange the salad on individual plates, drizzle with a little of the dressing, top with crumbled bacon, chives, and additional blue cheese.

In bacon, blue cheese, cheese, salad

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