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Classic Iceberg Wedge
Hearts of Lettuce Recipes

The history of Iceberg Lettuce


To make the classic wedge salad,
simply take the outer leaves off of an Iceberg or Crisphead head of lettuce, do not core, and cut in half and then in half again or as small a wedge as you like.

Top with 1/ 4 cup bleu cheese dressing,
1/ 4 cup chopped tomato and
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
garnish with 1 / 4 cup chopped green onions (optional)

About the Classic Iceberg Wedge

Period cookbooks, old newspapers (esp. New York Times historic), and culinary reference books confirm the popularity of iceberg (also known as crisphead) lettuce in the 1920s. They do not, however, reveal claimants (hotels, chefs, restaurants) to the invention of the classic American wedge-type salad served with creamy dressing. The general concensus of current sources squarely places this salad as a ubiquitous menu entry of the 1950s and 1960s. The lettuce wedge lost its place in the 1970s when consumers were intrigued by more interesting salads. Recently, the iceberg wedge salad has resurfaced as a "reinvented" item on trendy menus. The new accompaniments are blue cheese (Maytag, esp.) and nuts.

Here is one of the oldest recorded recipes for the Iceberg Wedge

Lettuce Salad and Roquefort Dressing


Lettuce hearts
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoonful dry mustard
1 saltspoonful salt
1 saltspoonful paprika
3 tablespoonfuls vinegar
Olive oil
3 tablespoonfuls Roquefort cheese
2 hard-cooked eggs
Place the lettuce hearts in a salad bowl which has been rubbed over with the cut clove of garlic. Mix together the mustard, salt, paprika, vinegar, and beat in olive oil until thick; then gradually add the cheeese and the hard-cooked yolks of eggs rubbed through a sieve. Pour over the lettuce and serve garnished with the whites of eggs."

---Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Marion Harris Neil [David McKay:Philadelphia] 1916 (p. 214)

[1949] "Heart of Lettuce Salad
Form cups from better outer leaves of iceberg lettuce. Cut head into 4 to 6 wedge shaped pieces, then arrange a wedge in each cup of lettuce. Make one to two lengthwise, then cross-wise cuts almost through the wedge to make cutting of salad with fork easier. Garnish with strip of pimento, celery curl and carrot strips. Top with favorite dressing."
---"Salads," Chicago Defender , December 10, 1949 (p. 20)

"Lettuce Salad with Roquefort Dressing

1 head lettuce
1 tablespoon chopped chirves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Roquefort French Dressing
Remove outside leaves and core from lettuce; wash and drain. Cut lengthwise into quarters; arrange each on a salad plate; sprinkle with chives and parsley, and serve with dressing. Serves 4. Instead of Roquefort French Dressing use: Avocado Dressing, Cottage Cheese Dressing, Frozen Tomato Mayonnaise."
--- Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook , Ruth Berolzheimer editor [Culinary Arts Institute:Chicago] 1950 (p. 537)

"Salade Subversive

ingredients: lettuce, tomato, Russian Dressing
1. cut [lettuce] into wedges
2. cut [tomato] into quarters
3. arrange thusly [wedge in the middle of the plate, tomato quarter on each side]
4. pour over [Russian dressing]--serve."
--- The New Wolf in Chef's Clothing: The picture cook and drink book for men , Robert H. Loeb, Jr. [Follett Publishing Company:Chicago] 1950, 1958 (p. 53)

"Head lettuce
, or iceberg lettuce, or Simpson lettuce is the most familiar of lettuces. It is the firm, tight, compace head of light-green leaves. Separated, the leaves make a lettuce cup as a container for potato salad, fruit salad, and so on. Cut in wedges, it is a favorite of men, particularly those who like to pour blue-cheese dressing over it."
--- McCall's Cook Book [Random House:New York] 1963 (p. 490)

Courtesy of the Food Timeline




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