“There’s no subtext with the wedge (none of that “I’m healthy!”) Its only goal is to please” ~ Bon Appetit
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We had a multi-week stretch of near weather perfection in Iowa this spring.
Kind of like evenings at the beach or driving Florida's seven-mile bridge at midnight. As if just beyond our treelike was the wafting of the ocean's breezes instead of neighbor kids' trampoline. If I listened hard enough, I swore I could hear seagulls
Then it turned hot, dry, and windy, and they all flew away. An Iowa summer is hard-earned, hard-fought. It plays hard to get, that is until it doesn't
My afternoons lately have been spent in the garden. There's watering and weeding, planting and fretting. The peaceful quiet offering an abundance of time to think about a question on repeat at our house lately ..
“Why don't you go do that thing you've been wanting to do?”
– – —
How long has it been now since she sat next to me on a flight home from New York? It was at least a year before 9-11
I liked her from the minute we started talking, “Will you help me find the switch for the reading light?” She never introduced herself, but I saw on her landing card that her name was Rosemary.
Rosemary wore bright red nail polish, smelled like a backyard full of peonies, and had a snore as loud as our washing machine. Although when she asked me if she'd snored, I assured her that I hadn't heard a thing
Her parents were Italian missionaries, and she was born in Calcutta. She lived in Mumbai until she was nine then Australia then England until 1970 when her family moved to the U.S. She still had lots of relatives in Italy and went back to visit them every year
“Your generation is lucky. Traveling is so much easier now that it used to be”
Her father died in India many years ago, and because of how things worked back then, she wasn't able to make it in time for the funeral. We were silent for a while
As we came down out of the clouds, she stared out the window, and then turned to me and smiled. “I love the Iowa countryside .. the way everything is divided into mile-wide squares”
— — —
I found myself thinking about her this week as I stood in the garden, staring out over the cornfields. Feeling a little tired, kind of like jet lag because I'd woken up too early
Maybe I'll go see the Italian countryside – for her. That sounds like a wonderful idea. I wished I'd told her that my grandparents were missionaries too. I asked my grandmother once, out of all the places they've been in the world, what was her favorite?
“Italy .. there's nothing quite like it”
Or maybe I'll go to Switzerland. One of my favorite photos is of my brother and sister-in-law when they traveled there. A crisp blue day, the snow-capped mountains in the background, the camera perfectly capturing their essence.
Or maybe even Iceland, the place at the tippy-top of my husband's wish list. How I'd love to swim in one of their incredible pools
But then I think of, not just the places I'd like to go, but the things I'd like to do this summer – right here at home. We talked about some of those too
“I know .. I know. The kids are out of school. You have that road trip planned. Work is crazy right now. The calendar’s full of weddings, reunions, check-ups. Check, check, check, check. I get it.
But you must carve out the time.”
My summer wish list was born right then and there, hoe in hand, the garden hose watering my feet. Reminders etched into the dirt on my arm
“You know that thing you've been wanting to do? Climb Mt. Everest? Tidy up your attic? Host the backyard BBQ? Tailor those pants? Launch that project? Volunteer at the food shelter?
Whatever it is, I think you should do them this summer,” Rosemary declared
We talked about life
“Please don't go it alone, it's really tough”
And our favorite summer meals.
“My husband makes the most incredible wedge salad. I could eat it every night”
Every now and again, when my husband and I find ourselves in a small town diner, a wedge salad will be one of the items on the menu. I'm never able to resist, especially one with the flavors of a BLT
There's nothing fancy about a BLT; it's simplicity at its finest. Although it requires a slight bit of attention to detail for that magical combination of flavors to hit all the right spots.
Here, decadent blue cheese dressing is draped over crispy and cold iceberg lettuce, the play of contrasting textures and temperatures get me every time. It's rich yet light, crunchy yet soft. The yin and yang of dinner recipes?
This salad would also be a great starter at your next dinner party or make a wonderful addition to any summer barbecue. (For appetizer portions make eight wedges instead of four)
~ Adapted from Bon Appetit | September 2013
The Ultimate BLT Wedge Salad
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- ½ small shallot, finely chopped
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt (the original calls for sour cream)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- fine grain sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup mild blue cheese crumbles
- 4 oz bacon, cut into 1" thick pieces
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce
- 2 -3 Roma tomatoes, chopped small
- Optional Toppings
- chopped hard-boiled eggs
- crushed croutons
- In a skillet over medium-low heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp, stirring frequently (~ 5-7 minutes)
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- In a medium-sized bowl, add shallot, greek yogurt (or sour cream), buttermilk, chives, white wine vinegar, a strong pinch of sea salt, and a grind of black pepper
- Whisk to combine
- Fold in blue cheese crumbles
- (Adjust the consistency with additional Greek yogurt or buttermilk, as needed)
- Cut iceberg lettuce into 4 wedges (8 if they're going to be served as appetizers)
- Place on plates and spoon the dressing over
- Top with bacon, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, more crumbled blue cheese, and crumbled croutons
I’m in equal parts in love with your recipe and the tomato cartoon 🙂 love a funny play on words!
Wedge Salad is the only way I enjoy iceberg lettuce. I mean it’s as if was meant to be. I love your post as it’s really important to “carve out time” rather than let this wonderful experience called life pass us by.
Another tasty recipe. I am so envious of those people that have success in the garden. I so want to have a green thumb, but I’ve missed that boat.
Such a great story. What a life she must have had. I’ve never had to sit with a stranger on a plane, but maybe I need to. A great life experience.
It sounds like an absolutely amazing thing to just strike up a conversation with someone and learn all about their life journey.
I absolutely love this! I was thinking these days about how my salads are boring and basic so I might give this a try. Funny thing — I’ve never eaten iceberg lettuce this way but chopped really really small in thousands of pieces — usually combined with tomatoes and chicken breast! Could eat it all day – this way.
Rosemary sounds like a well traveled woman! We often look out to the fields around us and wonder about landscapes in other countries. We’ve never seen a wedge salad and totally agree that organic iceburg is the best and you can taste the difference x
I love talking to travelers on planes. There is usually someone with an exciting life or great stories. And I love just spending a little time with strangers like that.
There is something amazing about talking to people who are well travelled, as someone who can’t travel much I love hearing the stories and how good does the wedge salad look! What an ace idea for a different type of salad.
I love a good wedge salad. I love BLT’S and love how it was transformed into a wedge salad. Thus looks really delicious for a summer dinner.
I’ve never heard of a wedge salad before maybe its cuz I don’t eat salad often. I really like the sound of the blue cheese dressing.
Years ago, I went on my first (….and very last) blind date. I’m not sure what my friend had told this guy about me but one thing was for sure – she forgot to mention that I’m the furthest thing from “high maintenance”. I live, eat, and breathe in jeans/crops , tees and Toms, along with the occasional hoodie. Fancy restaurants have never been a good place to take me because I never seem to dress the part nor do I have any idea as to which fork goes with each plate. Nevertheless, I did wear a dress on this date — a sun dress that I’d been wearing for the past two summers – that was faded to half of its original color and pronounced its age with the little pills of fabric all over. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the conversation we had nor the guy’s name; however, he felt the need to order for me. The only dish I enjoyed was the wedge salad. It was full of flavor and more fun to eat than a traditional salad. I haven’t had one since that night but now I think I’ll be adding this to my family’s meal plan! Thanks for sharing!
I used to get a salad like this from a famous restaurant in NYC. It was my favorite meal there. Im totally going to try to make this at home too now!
LOL! All of THAT and for a salad recipe??? Nicely done! It looks delicious. I would have to wait until no one was looking, pick it up, trying not to get my fingers messy and bite right in! Yes.
It’s amazing the things we can remember about people we’ve met. Such as “she wore red nail polish”. She sounds like she lived life as it was meant to be. With enjoyment and wonderment at every new thing. Thanks for sharing!
A delicious BLT is one of those things I crave sometimes, it’s the perfect summer salad. I love what a great story teller you are, you have a way with words for sure. I’ve met some characters while traveling too. It’s funny how they seem to leave an impression on you and stay with your memories of the place and time. Back to the salad though! I think a good bacon and a fresh, ripe tomato are the key to a really good BLT salad. And of course a rich and creamy dressing.
Yummy, I love BLTs so I know I’d gobble this wedge salad up. I’m all about anything with bacon!
I’d love to see the Italian countryside someday. I’m sure it’s gorgeous.
You know that is one thing I do not do, talk to other travelers! I guess I be so consumed in reaching my destination so I am always quiet. Now, I enjoy salads but I have never made a wedge salad before, we are having people over soon for a backyard dinner and I think I am going to serve them a wedge salad since the weather has been so hot and a salad is cool and quick!
Such a great story! I feel like I usually sit next to some pretty interesting/memorable people on planes.
I feel rather shy talking to strangers sitting next to me on the plane , bus or train and I have never had such interesting conversations with them either. I was wondering what wedge salad was and having read the post I am liking the idea of it and something I would love to make, I can think of many variations of topping that could go well with it.
While traveling can be rough, I actually enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. Thank you for sharing hers. This recipe looks great for this time of the year. Nice and light for those hot summer evenings. Super easy but great addition to any meal!
Omg that tomato photo is so freaking cute! I love BLT wedge salad because they are so delicious. I remember when I got the wedge salad once before and I didn’t know it would actually come out as the uncut wedge; but it did, and since then I just thought it was interesting and delicious. Always down for a new recipe
I love travel and great to hear other peoples stories. Salad, I need this, as I am on a healthy eating plan at the mo!! 🙂 x
I am always looking for healthier recipes to try. This BLT Wedge Salad looks so delicious and easy to make. I will have to give it a try on the weekend.
I must tip my hat to you. This is the craziest (in a good way) BLT I have ever seen. I would love to serve this as an app for an event or if the ladies are over. What gets me is that everything is piled up on the wedges. It’s simply genius.
BLT salads are one of my favorites! This looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Rosemary sounds like a wise woman. It sounds like you two had a lot in common, as well. Italy is definitely on my travel list.
Lovely story, thank you for sharing. Rosemary sure sound like a sweet lady, it’s amazing how some people can actually leave a mark when you meet them for the first time. Btw, this recipe looks amazing!
Yum another awesome recipe! I need more salad in my life and l love a good wedge salad and with bacon :). I had a friend that would grill the wedges just a tad before serving, but I haven’t tried it yet. Adding this to my menu and thank you for sharing.
I can almost taste it now! the bacon and the blue cheese would taste amazing with this! It reminds me of my side salad I had at a steakhouse recently! Now I can finally make my own 🙂
Looks so tempting as your description and photography is stunning. I will try this.
Your writing is so beautiful Alison – I was completely there with you on that flight, next to Rosemary and learning about her colourful past. Don’t let all the plans you’ve already made stop you from making more, do what you want to do, when you want to do it. And please send your husband to the UK to make that salad for our BBQs, it looks immense! X
I have a fear of planes and flying that prevents me from talking to anyone beside me. I usually cry. You are lucky to be able to have such stories to share from people you”ve met. Oh and the tomato cartoon rocks!
This BLT wedge salad is an awesome idea for sure. I am going to have to make this for the family. We love eating salads and this one actually sounds really good to me. Thanks for sharing the recipes.
This look like a nice salad to make for my husband. Yeah Iceland is on my bucket list as well. xx
I have never tried using iceberg lettuce this way! What a nice dish, so visually appealing and delicious. I love those bacon bits. Of course, everything tastes good with bacon!
Wedge salad is one of my favorite salads and this BLT wedge salad looks simple and delicious. Summer caught me off guard this year and I had no big plans, but starting to think a road trip might be in order.
I love how little memories like that stay with you forever. Sometimes the passing conversations we have with strangers can be the ones we dwell on the most.
That looks so crisp, fresh and delicious! I have never prepared a wedge salad before but I’d like to.
I really do love wedge salad and with blue cheese dressing, it sounds perfect. I am glad that you had such a great time talking to your friend. Friendship means everything.
I have never come across the term wedge salad before but it looks like a great way to eat an iceberg lettuce. Although I travel a lot at the moment, mostly by train, I never seem to get interesting people to talk to.
I love wedge salads! And this one sounds amazing , especially since bacon and blue cheese is involved! In fact, this will be perfect for our July 4th BBQ!
I love hearing about where other people have travelled to as I haven’t done any. Hopefully one day though. I have never heard of a wedge salad before, but is sure does look tasty
My husband found a friend just last week on a flight – They had such a lovely chat and we have discussed how nice it was to talk to a stranger all week. How lovely that you can remember Rosemary every time you have a wedge salad!
The weather here has been like Fall. I want summer to arrive any time now! And bacon makes everything taste better.
Plane trips of themselves are just so boring and so it is always great when you can find someone new to chat to and learn a new perspective from. Particularly when you fly internationally, you never know who you will end up chatting with and what stories and experiences they might share. Rosemary certainly sounded extremely interesting with such a varied background. The salad you have shown here was a little reminiscent of a ceasar to me at first glance, but when I saw you added blue cheese dressing, that does make me think it would be delicious and add that extra dimension. Will definitely give this a go.
Awww sounds like you made a really great friend on your plane ride. It’s always nice to meet new people and talk.
I have seen similar presentation recently in several different countries and restaurants. I could make this salad. It looks really simple. Salad never is dull and there are so many ways to serve.
What an extraordinary, interesting travel companion you found 🙂 This BLT wedge salad is perfect for summer BBQs, the blue cheese sauce sounds delicious!
This looks very nice and very refreshing too, I will have to give this a try
The characters we can meet in these situations are so fascinating – amazing how she has stayed with you all that time, isn’t it funny to think we may make that deep an impression sometimes! I really enjoyed this and the salad looks delicious x
“I love you with my head tomatoes”, quoting this as it attracts me. Lol. I love salad and definitely I will be doing your recipe. I am sure my parents would love this wedge salad. Might prepare this over the weekends when I get to visit them.
So glad I am not the only one that likes to garden to think about things. I thought, seriously, that I was one of the few that did that– pondering hard questions while gardening. I thought many people just gardened to get away from those questions and for pure peace.
I like all the stories you told too– indeed, you can travel much easier these days but you sometimes miss things in the process too.
Thanks for sharing– and I will try to eat more salad! LOL
~ Via Bella
It sure is nice to find a new friend on a flight somewhere. I usually travel with my husband and he is more of the friendly kind. Plane rides make me anxious, you know, with all these crazy things going on around us, all that’s on my mind is for the plane to get me to my destination in one piece. Seriously. Anyway, I love this BLT wedge salad. Never tried having a salad like that before, but the bleu cheese and bacon are enough to convince me to give this a try.
I love Iowa and its expansive, flat terrain. The people are friendly and weather is kind. As for the wedge salad, I must be the only one on this planet who hasn’t tried one. Hahaha! 🙂
I haven’t tried starting a conversation with the person beside me on the plane. In the bus, yes, I have, although it is not me who initiates the conversation. I am suspicious of people who are overly friendly! Haha. Anyway, I love your wedge salad. Haven’t had lettuce served to me that way, but hey. I would give this recipe a try. Bleu cheese and bacon? Yes!
It is sad that Rosemary was unable to attend her fathers funeral in India but how beautiful that you both share a passion for the countryside. I always thought that Iowa was beautiful but I like that you said summers are fought for as I believe the case is the same in the UK. Our summers are always fought for too. On the plus side the wedge salad looks perfect for summers in the garden x
Wedge salad isn’t something I’ve ever seen here in the UK. It looks such a fun, unique way to serve salad tho! I love your recipe, especially the blue cheese sauce. Yum!
The wedge salad looks delish! But I think you should definately take that trip to Europe this summer, so many lovely scenes!
First of all, its vegan and healthy. It’s fun to have run across such a delightful meal, and come to think of it it looks so easy. So long its veggiesbycanlelight then I am in for a super sweet meal ride! Thanks for this vbc as you have given me something new to try out at home
I love a good salad. I had wedge salad in the past but not often. Definitely a healthy lunch option and I would put special vinaigrette dressing on mine.
Oh I love this story, it’s amazing the stories we hear from strangers, I know that I’ve had some amazing conversations with strangers whilst I travel. A salad is perfect in this weather, we are sweltering here!
Your writing is so beautiful! And I LOVE WEDGE salads, not to mention a good BLT.
One can never go wrong with BLT salad and after seeing your photos, now I’m craving one. There’s truly nothing better than a BLT in the summer. What a great idea!
I loved how you compared rosemary with red nailpolish. This salad looks as a great appetizer for any dinner party. I loved the story of stranger whom you met.
This looks absolutely divine. I love how simple the presentation is and frankly I just want to take a wedge and bite straight into it.
This looks delicious and I absolutely love the funny tomato image! So cute! This would be so great for garden parties throughout the Summer as a healthy little snack! xo
I love the random people you meet in airports or on flights. I will never forget that Italian businessman who sat next to me on an almost empty flight from Milano to Frankfurt, talking to me the entire flight and making me laugh, when I told him I was afraid of flying. Or the father of a Portuguese football player whom I sat next to on my flight from Havana to Toronto who gave me his extra meal because the flight attendants knew him and he didn’t had to pay. Or the Peruvian woman with her so well behaved daughter who sat next to me on a flight from Sao Paolo to Lima, with whom I tried for the first time Inca Cola.
Everyone who reads this must be in love with that tomato cartoon!!! the wedge salad is so easy to make … I noticed you have a story for each of your recipes..how incredible that is…you are true food lover… your love for healthy food is immense…I am too good while talking to strangers …haha …hope u always get a good person next to you while traveling!!!