I just love how the Americans cut a big wedge of iceberg, drench it in blue cheese dressing and then call it a salad. Respect.
I’m rather fond of the poor old iceberg. It doesn’t have any flavour to speak of but as a big ol’ wedge of crunch, no lettuce does it better. So, you take a quarter of the lettuce and drench it; yes, drench it, in a blue cheese and sour cream dressing. Dribble. You’ll need something to offset all that richness and tang though, so why not sprinkle on a handful of sweet ‘n salty pig-candy pieces? Oh yes indeedy. Picture this: kerrrunch down through that wedge; creamy, salty; nuggets of blue cheese sneaking into every layer but then, hang on what’s this? Chewy shards of sticky, streaky candied bacon, that’s what. Salad garnish crack.
Caramelised walnuts would make a lovely alternative to the bacon but I wasn’t allowed to make those because that would have taken up time I could have been using to make more candied bacon.
Wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and candied bacon (serves 4)
1 iceberg lettuce (try to get a nice round one so your wedges look good)
150g blue cheese (I used Roquefort)
200ml sour cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus extra just in case; I found I wanted a little more)
1 teaspoon mustard (I used Dijon)
1 tablespoon chives, snipped with scissors
For the candied bacon
8 rashers streaky bacon
1-2 teaspoons of sugar per bacon rasher, depending on size
First candy the bacon by laying the rashers out on a baking tray and sprinkling the sugar evenly over them. Whack them under a hot grill until crisp and caramelised. Wipe the rashers around in the stick juices that have accumulated in the tray, turn them over and cook the other side. Watch them like a hawk once you’ve turned them as they will caramelise extremely fast. Once cooked, remove and let cool on a wire rack. Don’t let the pieces touch each other as they will stick together.
Crush the garlic with a teeny pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar until creamy. Blend the garlic with all the other dressing ingredients together in a bowl. You can do this with a blender if you like but I like my blue cheese dressing quite chunky so I mash it in a bowl to achieve the right consistency; it’s nice to get the odd nugget of cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper if you like; the cheese will already be quite salty. Taste again and add a little more lemon juice if you think it needs it.
Remove any manky outer leaves from your iceberg and quarter it. Wash it. Arrange each wedge on a plate, dollop on the blue cheese dressing. Cut the bacon into pieces and sprinkle over. Serve.