Wedge salad. So what's that all about, then?
Well, you get an iceberg lettuce, cut a humungous wedge out of it - and dress it. Done.
No, seriously - it's as easy as that.
I too, was a tad surprised when I learned that this "Wedge Salad" that I'd been hearing mentioned in various American blog posts was as simple as that. After all, it was American! Where was the dry soup base, or the American cheese, the sweetened condensed milk, or the pre-mixed seasoning? But no - the classic American wedge salad contains none of these things. Just lettuce, a creamy dressing of some sort and whatever extra bits you fancy.
So I included it on the menu list for that week. After all, we were going to be pushed for time on a lot of those days and a simple salad was just the job.
Hubby had the great idea of pairing it up with some Scampi and his home made Crunchy Krauters (or crunchy croutons, as they are probably known everywhere else). With the last minute addition of some cherry tomatoes, it made an absolutely lovely meal.
On our Wedge Salad, we went for a blue cheese dressing along with some grilled streaky bacon pieces, spring onion and sweetcorn. Now you seriously wouldn't expect something that was just cut differently, to be quite so successful. However, I think the thing with this salad is indeed the shape. When the dressing is drizzled over, it seeps in through the cut sides of the wedge of lettuce and when you cut through, every leaf has had its own little bath in dressing. Some rather more, some rather less. Add together a few of the bits and pieces that are sprinkled over and adhering to the dressing - and you've got an amazingly satisfying salad forkful.
Hubby's crunchy krauters are simplicity itself to make. You take a piece of two day old baguette and cut it into large cubes. Pre-heat the oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4 and while it's warming up, place the cubes into a bowl and drizzle over some Rapeseed oil or extra virgin Olive oil. Add some seasoning - this is definitely one for the sea salt flakes - and toss to coat each cube in seasoned oil.
Tip the cubes out onto a baking sheet and spread them out into one flat layer. Bake for just 5 minutes, then check them to see how they're doing. They should be golden and crunchy on the edges. If not, leave them for - literally - just another minute or two. Don't leave the kitchen or take your eyes off them, or they'll burn.
As soon as they're done, serve. They make a delicous and crunchy change from potatoes or pasta!
Oh, and the rootbeer float? Easy peasy. Get yourself some root beer (most major supermarkets sell it now) and if you like the stuff (I think it's redolent of cough mixture and hate the stuff, but the chaps love it) pour into a glass. Take vanilla icecream and scoop out a good sized ball and drop it (carefully) into the glass. Add a straw, a deckchair and some sun. Sorted.
WEDGE SALAD (serves 3)
A fresh, clean, whole Iceberg lettuce
3-4 rashers streaky bacon
Blue cheese dressing (feel free to make your own - I didn't have either time nor inclination)
2-3 spring onions, sliced finely
3 tbsp sweetcorn (from a can is easiest).
1. Grill the bacon rashers until crispy, then cut into small pieces and set aside to cool.
2. Take your Iceberg lettuce and trim off the brown stump end, to 2-3 leaves back. Remove the outer leaves and discard (or give them to your rabbit/guinea pig/goat etc).
3. Taking a sharp knife, make one cut from top to bottom through one side of the lettuce, then make another cut some 2-3 inches away - again from top to bottom, so removing a wedge of lettuce.
4. Place the iceberg on its back on your serving plate and trickle the blue cheese (or dressing of your choice) over it.
5. Sprinkle over the bacon pieces, spring onion and sweetcorn.