>I have to admit right away that I genuinely love wedge salads. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but whenever I see one on a menu, I make up some reason why I must order it. Before last week, I figured the less one fussed over the recipe, the better. Is the lettuce cold? Is the blue cheese tangy? Is everything presented as-is on the plate? But then I had a wedge salad at Bavette's in Chicago that was so surprisingly great, I had to rethink the whole genre.
Instead of a basic blue cheese dressing, which trends thick and creamy, Bavette's topped its version with a tangy and thin ranch dressing. This initially sounded like heresy, but the switch allowed the dressing to seep between the leaves, ensuring that each bite was evenly coated. I was so taken with the salad, I decided to see if I could recreate it (at least in spirit) at home.
Most of it was dead simple. Slice iceberg lettuce into wedges. Hard boil some eggs using Kenji's handy guide. Pick up some very thick cut bacon and cook it until golden brown. Crumble blue cheese.
The only element that required any sort of thought was the ranch dressing. Going with a bottled version never crossed my mind (they apparently all suck), plus I knew it'd probably be way too thick and sweet. Instead, I wanted a light and tangy ranch, and that meant that I needed one with the highest buttermilk-to-mayonnaise ratio. I eventually came across basic buttermilk dressing by Robb Walsh, which I spruced up with some ideas from this version.
The result is as close as I could get to Bavette's without making a reservation a month in advance.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 8 wedges
- 4 thick-cut slices of bacon (preferably 1/4-inch thick)
- 4 eggs
- 8 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- For the Ranch Dressing:
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane grater
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain slices on paper towels.
Pour 6 cups water into a medium-sized saucepan and carefully drop the eggs in. Bring to a bare simmer (between 180 to 190°F) over high heat, and then reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain eggs in a colander. Run cold water over them until cool enough to handle, and then peel each one under cold water. Dry on paper towels. Slice each in half lengthwise.
For the Ranch Dressing: Whisk together all of the ingredients for the ranch dressing in a medium bowl. Taste and, if necessary, add more salt.
Place 2 wedges, 2 egg halves, and 1 slice of bacon on four plates. Dress each with approximately 1/4 cup ranch dressing and 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese.