At our house, a wedge salad shows up most often in the good ol’ summertime. One week there’s a run on BLTs and the next, wedge salads begin to appear at the side of grilled burgers or chops. There’s no good reason not have them come winter, but maybe it’s about tomatoes? I would, however, be the first person to tell you homegrown Colorado tomatoes are not so terribly wonderful even in high summer. So, no. They are not Illinois tomatoes, nor are they New Jersey tomatoes. They crack from overwatering or they wait for October snows only to be ushered into the house for a very sad and slow paper bag ripening. Sometimes they’re ready (or rotted) by Thanksgiving. That said, I’ve not a true complaint as I keep a large carton of Campari tomatoes on hand 52 weeks a year. Which is why, once in a happy while during January, a summer-ish wedge makes an appearance on our dinner table, much to my husband’s thrilled amazement and big-eyed wonder. (He’s a big wedge fan because #1 he loves blue cheese and #2 he loves bacon more. If there’s a wedge on a restaurant menu, he’ll order it. Almost always.) And when I was pondering all of this the other day, ready for our January splurge, I wondered why we couldn’t have a wedge for breakfast? I love eggs with any vegetables; you might remember. I mean, nearly everyone eats Huevos Rancheros with lettuce and tomato, don’t they? Some breakfast tacos come with shredded lettuce and tiny diced tomatoes, too. What about veggie benedicts? Our favorite breakfast place serves a ton of salads with fried eggs, or avocado toast, or omelets. And anyway, bacon — a main wedge ingredient — is for sure breakfast food. So why not a BREAKFAST WEDGE? A nice hunk of blue-cheesy lettuce and some lacy fried eggs. Really crisp bacon. I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea. Maybe a side of UK grilled mushrooms and tomatoes?Jump to Recipe
Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen fame, talks about her own wedge salad love in her first cookbook, THE SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK: RECIPES AND WISDOM FROM AN OBSESSIVE HOME COOK, which I just pulled out the other day after receiving her newest one on my front porch. Even if you don’t cook, take a look at these cookbooks. You could just read them in bed at night. I somehow missed the cookbook that was published between those two. Where was I? Ach.
However you feel about a wedge, the dressing must be right. Deb –it sounds like we’re friends, but we’re not, more’s the pity– makes a valid point when she tells us it’s easy to get the wedge dressing wrong by buying a bottle at the store and wonders why when it’s so very easy to make blue cheese dressing. While I like a little blue cheese as an accent, it’s not my very favorite cheese on earth. (What IS my favorite cheese on earth? It very probably is Cheddar, but don’t quote me.) And I wouldn’t order blue cheese dressing at all. Ever. I’m a vinaigrette baby, though you’ll see me with ranch, too, if it’s freshly made. But because I’m married to the man I am, I learned early on to not only make friends with blue cheese, but to make smacking good blue cheese dressing. I’ve never made Deb’s (and maybe I should), but mine is thicker–with blue cheese in it. Deb’s is based on buttermilk and mayonnaise and the cheese only goes ON the salad. My somewhat gloppy-messy dressing is great leftover for celery sticks and wings or to smear across a hot, hot steak. So while my breakfast wedge prep begins with making coffee and cooking the bacon (and grilling the mushrooms and tomatoes if that’s in your plan–see above left), the blue cheese dressing gets mashed up as soon as that meat goes in the oven or the skillet (you get flatter bacon and can cook more at a time.) Just to make sure it’s done ahead. Because once the eggs hit the pan…
You know, a good egg breakfast depends a lot on the eggs getting to the table hot, so all other components must be ready or plated when the eggs begin popping in the skillet. (Watch your hands; that grease is hot.) Once your bacon is going and the dressing done, it’s time to slice lettuce and cut scallions. Next, get the plates organized with the salad and bacon, make sure the coffee’s poured, and get going on those eggs. Should you like crispy lacy fried eggs, you’ll need to heat an 9 or 10-inch skillet with two-three tablespoons olive oil until it’s quite hot. Crack the eggs in (they POP!), season with salt and pepper, and once they’re just setting, using a spoon or the edge of the spatula, drizzle the hot fat over the eggs until they’re done to your liking. Here’s another idea how to make crispy lacy eggs. Once the eggs are cooked and you’ve gotten a skinny spatula (see right) underneath one, rest it briefly on a folded paper towel to let some of that grease drain away before sliding the egg onto the ready and waiting plate. If you want toast (I didn’t), start it before the eggs as it could take longer than they do. You could stick the toast in the warm oven to hold for a couple of minutes if need be.
Now that you have the idea, you can try this:
- 4 slices thick bacon, fried or roasted until crisp
- ½ of a small-medium head iceberg lettuce, cut in half into wedges (Wash and chill at least an hour ahead.)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Blue Cheese Dressing- see note
- 4 eggs, cooked over-easy or sunny side up in hot fat and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1.5 oz)
- 2 scallions, sliced thinly at an angle
- To each plate, add two pieces of cooked bacon and a wedge of lettuce. Sprinkle the wedge with salt and pepper, drizzle with Blue Cheese Dressing. Carefully add the two fried eggs. Garnish the wedge and the eggs with the sliced scallions and crumbled blue cheese.
- 1/4 cup each: crumbled blue cheese (approx. 1.5 ounces), mayonnaise, and sour cream
- Pinch each: salt and pepper
- 2-3 drops hot sauce or to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons milk– as desired to thin the dressing
Not a blue cheese fan? Make a scratch ranch dressing and use Cheddar cheese for garnish.
LIFE GOES ON:
The best sous husband needed dessert the other day. This Molly Wizenberg olive oil cake features almonds and lots of citrus, is simple, and keeps well. Did I say it’s luscious? I may blog it, but if you want to make it soon, here’s the recipe.
Dinner out with our family last weekend held several highlights, but one had to be our granddaughter Piper dressing up for the event. We know that might not go on too very long, but in the meantime… we loved it. I did ask her if she had seen “The Wizard of Oz” and knew about the ruby slippers, etc.–she hadn’t and didn’t! Must be rectified without delay.
Thanks for keeping me company in my kitchen; it means a lot.
Make salad for breakfast (or even dinner),