What’s in a salad? For years we have been filling our salad bowl with a myriad of greens available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The local markets have bins heaped with various mixes that may include oak leaf lettuce, baby spinach, wild arugula and baby romaine. Within arm’s length are hearts of romaine and heads of frisée. The salad possibilities are endless…!
A few nights ago we were hungering for a simple grilled ribeye and a crisp-skinned baked potato with absolutely every fixing one could possibly imagine. The salad to accompany this? Why, what else could be better than a simple wedge of old-fashioned iceberg lettuce gloriously and generously topped with Dayton’s homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing! I remember the humble iceberg well… it was the only lettuce we knew growing up on the farm in Minnesota, except for the tender leaves of green leaf lettuce that would be plucked fresh from the garden each spring in the early morning sun and served with a simple dressing of vinegar, sweet cream, a touch of sugar and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. The iceberg was the workhorse of greens…! It was rarely served with any dressing other than bottled French or Russian. I loved the crisp crunch of the hearty leaves as I dug in with my knife and fork… and how wonderful it was to have the dressing quite stealthily find its way into all of the nooks and crannies of the wedge! Iceberg is also, unquestionably, the best lettuce to use in garnishing a hamburger. Imagine a few delicate field greens trying to stand up to the heft required to build a structurally sound burger. Impossible, I say, for that is simply not their place or function!
Eating a great crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce is a gastronomic treat in my estimation… especially when topped with this magnificent dressing! The type of bleu cheese used in making this dressing is extremely important. Forget about those little prepacked containers of ready crumbled blue cheese so prevalent in every market… nasty stuff! The crumbles are tasteless and pebble-like. As the old addage goes, your final product can only be as good as the ingredients which go into it. We’ve found that the best bleu cheese to use is one that is rich, creamy and abundant in tangy flavor and richness. Our choice for this spectacular dressing is Point Reyes Blue, a locally made cheese that meets all of our requirements. There are, however, many from which to choose… just stay away from those nondescript prepackaged crumbles if you are striving to make absolutely the best Bleu Cheese Dressing!
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Combine in a medium bowl:
- 6 – 8 oz chunk Bleu cheese, broken into pieces
- 1 C mayonnaise
- 1 C sour cream
- 2 green onions, white and green portions, finely minced
- 1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 whole peeled garlic cloves, microplaned
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 5 dashes Louisiana-style hot sauce
- salt and coarse black pepper, to taste
Mix well to combine then cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve generously over a chilled, crisp iceberg lettuce wedge. This dressing is also magnificent with buffalo chicken wings, so keep it in mind when the gang is gathered around the big screen for those big football events… Bon Appetit!
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