I remember on an episode of Mad Men, John Slatterly's character Roger Sterling is sitting at a booth in a restaurant, downing drinks with Don Draper and a prospective client. Sterling is trying to keep the prospective client seated so he and Draper can have some extra time to woo him into their advertising firm. The client doesn't want to say but Sterling insists and orders them all Iceberg Wedge Salads with blue cheese dressing and topped with bacon.
I did some research on the history of this particular salad and while Iceberg lettuce was very popular since the 1920s, this salad didn't appear until the 1950s and was popular through the 1960s. Iceberg lettuce was your standard lettuce. Nowadays, we use a variety of lettuces but at that time Iceberg was the default. So instead of just your average chopped salad with Iceberg, you can dress up a wedge in a fancy way by topping it with blue cheese dressing and bacon. I like to add chopped tomatoes and either scallions or chives too.
For dinner, I decided to pair the Iceberg Wedge Salad with a nice juicy Steak to round it out as a full meal.
Fun fact: Back in the day, people would put steaks on black eyes or bruises to reduce swelling. But did you know that they would also use frozen heads of iceberg lettuce as cold packs for injuries?
For the dressing, I made a point to choose Ken's Steakhouse Blue Cheese Dressing. Why Ken's Steakhouse? The original Ken's Steakhouse restaurant is situated on Worcester Road (Route 9) in Framingham, MA. I grew up in Natick which is the next town over. There is a stretch of that road that runs from Natick and into Framingham that used to be called the Golden Mile. When Ken's Steakhouse started in 1941 it was actually called the Starvation Mile. It became the Golden Mile when that area was built up with lots of fabulous places like the Jordan Marsh dome, Cinema 1+2, the original Shopper's World mall, Howard Johnson's, Monticello Inn and of course Ken's Steakhouse. If Don Draper drove down that Golden Mile, he'd see something that was the equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip. A lot of those places no longer exist but Ken's Steakhouse still stands strong supported by loyal diners and their separate condiment business.
And this after all is Thoughtful Eating. I put a lot of thought behind every dish I make!
Iceberg Wedge Salad
1 head of Iceberg, cut into 4 wedges and cored
Ken's Steakhouse Light Blue Cheese Dressing
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
3 stalks of green onion, sliced
This makes 4 individual salads. Lay the wedge on it's side not on it's back. Otherwise it will rock and roll and make a huge mess of dinner.
To core the wedge, just cut off the bottom core part with a knife. The wedge should still hold together but be careful in case it starts to unravel. Top with blue cheese dressing, crumbled bacon, chopped tomato and sliced green onion. Serve with a petite New York style sirloin steak cooked medium or medium well. Enjoy with a dirty martini, if so desired.