Thursday, May 03, 2012

wedge salad with chili lime ranch and crab

The other night I was invited to "media preview" dinner at Truffles restaurant to introduce their new Chef, Brandon Benack. I accepted even though I don't write a review blog because I really loved what former chef John Griffiths had done there and was just plain curious how things would change. Benack's dishes are great... well-thought out, playful and tasty.  

The second course of of the 7-course tasting menu was interesting... wedge salad. The wedge salad has a reputation, I find, among food enthusiasts to be boring, tasteless, antiquated, etc. This mostly has to do with the lettuce... iceberg lettuce, I find, is one of the first foods people shun when they start to fancy themselves as having more sophisticated palettes. At least it was for me. The stuff doesn't have much at all in the way of flavor or nutritional value. It's doomed to be the ubiquitous ranch-drenched chain steakhouse afterthought lettuce. 

I've come around to wedge salad, however. My favorite gastropub, Bleeding Deacon (now closed... wahhhhh), had a fantastic wedge salad. And the one served at this Truffles dinner was also great. Serving Iceberg as a wedge lets it's main attribute, crispness, be showcased. That's all the iceberg is there for... to be a crisp, refreshing base for some good toppings. Chef Benack's version had a cayenne ranch and lump crab meat. I was inspired to make my own, very similar to the Truffles version. Did I mention grated eggs? I have seen eggs treated this way several times and it always tickles me. What a fun way to serve hard-boiled eggs on a salad! It's fun to say, too... grated eggs... (See also: Shaved Eggs.)

Wedge Salad with Low-Fat Chili-Lime Ranch

-6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
-8 oz. carton buttermilk
-juice from half a lime
-2 garlic cloves
-1 or 2 small green chilis, chopped fine
-salt and pepper to taste

Salad (makes 4 wedge salads)
-1 head lettuce cut into 4 wedges
-4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
-1 cup lump crab meat
-2 hard boiled eggs, grated or chopped fine
-1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
-salt & pepper to taste

Put all of the dressing ingredients into a container that has a tight-sealing lid. Shake shake shake.
Divide all of the salad ingredients onto 4 plates. Pour dressing over salads. Serve with a knife and fork.

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George Mahe said...

I had the exact same reaction to Benack's Wedge Salad...I told him "this is what all Wedge Salads should taste like." And it inspired me to make one at home as well. Now I have a thank you very much.

k said...

At first I was disappointed - a not-balls post. But then I realized, a whole iceberg lettuce is TOO a ball! So, yay!