From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Those of us who grew up in the Midwest are no strangers to the salad I'm featuring tonight. It made regular appearances on our dinner tables despite the bad press it received from food writers, who I am now convinced were on the payroll of the Boston and leaf lettuce consortium. The salad was simplicity personified. Iceberg lettuce, cut into thick wedges, was topped with Thousand Island dressing that oozed downward, much like a lava flow on the slopes of a volcano. The salad was memorable because the lettuce never lost its crispness and it provided crunchy sound effects that endeared it to anyone under the age of ten. For years after I had been informed that iceberg lettuce was déclassé, I would thread more socially acceptable greens with the crunch that only iceberg lettuce could provide. It is yet another indication that I am not now, nor have I ever been a "foodie". I was really pleased to find a new take on a wedge salad in the August issue of Food and Wine magazine. They gussied up the basic salad, but what really caught my eye was their recipe for roasted tomato dressing. It appeared to be a bit like the red French dressing of yesteryear, but having made it, I can tell you it is much sharper in taste. It actually was too sharp for my palate, so the next time I make it, I will cut back on the amount of mustard I use. Tomatoes come in with a vengeance at this time of year and the dressing is a great way to put some of them to use. I think you will enjoy the salad, especially if you taste the dressing as you assemble its elements. It will need salt and pepper, and I think you'll find 1 tablespoon of mustard will give it all the zip it needs. If you are looking for a new take on an old favorite you might want to give this recipe a try. Here is how the salad is made.
Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing with Iceberg Lettuce Wedges...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine
1 pound medium tomatoes, halved crosswise
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, quartered
1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves
Two 1-pound heads of iceberg lettuce, each cut into 6 wedges through the core
1/2 pound baby carrots, preferably multicolored, thinly shaved lengthwise on a mandoline or with a vegetable peeler
8 radishes, very thinly sliced
Optional: Salted roasted pumpkin seeds and small dill sprigs, for garnish
1) To make salad dressing: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes on a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned in spots and softened. Let cool, then squeeze out and discard seeds. Transfer tomatoes to a blender. Add sherry vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, egg yolk and garlic and puree until nearly smooth. With blender on, gradually add the 3/4 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
2) To prepare salad: Arrange lettuce wedges on a platter. Scatter carrot ribbons and sliced radishes over lettuce and drizzle some of the dressing on top. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and dill sprigs, if using, and season salad with salt and pepper. Serve right away, passing additional dressing at the table. Yield: 12 servings.
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