Favorite items in an iceberg salad...
...besides the classic wedge?
I like iceberg. So sue me. Chickpeas, croutons, hearts of palm, cucumbers, tomatoes—sturdy things mainly, not my typical fruit-cheese-nut approach I use with more delicate greens. Plus, a creamy dressing, like French, never vinaigrette.
Six days out of seven in my childhood we had a salad of lettuce, either iceberg or iceberg mixed with red, thinly sliced sweet onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, and tomato (unless in the dead of winter, in which case tomatoes became indelible), sometimes augmented with sliced cucumber and/or avocado, braised celery root, artichoke hearts. Dressing was always 3:1 olive oil and red wine vinegar, sometimes with crumbled bleu cheese. I still make it often. It always came after the main course and was dressed at the table and tossed. Some of my fondest memories are of mopping the last bit of dressing with a thin piece of rye or, when we lived in the Bay Area, Larrabaru's sourdough.
re: tim irvine
re: tim irvine
Thank you for that. What a lovely memory to share!
Wasn't iceberg it for grocery store lettuce until about 1980? I remember eating iceberg salad almost every day as a kid, too, and it had to be with Good Seasons Italian dressing that you made from the envelope in a shaker.
I am a sucker for a wedge with Thousand Island. I also do a shameless iceberg salad that's got lots of chopped cauliflower, bacon and parm plus a tangy mayo based dressing. I could eat that by the bucket full.
I like iceberg too. I love hearts of palm. Cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots are staples for me. I like to add baby corn or artichoke hearts if I have them on hand.
Dressings are usually a ranch or I like Newman's Sesame Ginger.
Growing up, my mom always made salad with iceberg and we always had french or russian dressing. Never had ranch until I went to college!
we prob all have our favo's.
even a family of 5 can all want it a different way.
in our case that's true.
1.lettuce-tomato-celery-peelings of carrot-Nanna's famous Bleu cheese salad dressing
2. lettuce-tomato-thinnest slices red onion (and very few) OR thin slices of scallion-peels of carrot-hard boiled egg chopped-sliced pickled beets-1000 Island
4. lettuce-tomatoes-raisins-carrot peels-celery-bacon-Nanna's Bleu cheese
5. lettuce-celery-red cabbage-avocado-walnuts-sliced mushrooms-black olives-green olives-raw broccoli-parm cheese-tomatos-craisins-dehydrated pineapple-shards+small dollop of each=1000 Island, Nanna's Bleu, Bernsteins Restaurant Italian, Buttermilk Ranch.
My favorite iceberg salad is from Olive Garden. Yeah, so sue me, like the OP said.
But that salad is just so good. That and the bread sticks the way they *used* to make them was a good enough meal for me.
An Olive Garden Salad usually consists of: Iceberg lettuce, olives, tomato, red onion, pepperoncinis, croutons, and salad dressing.
I think the salad dressing is the key, here. That and the iceberg. Romaine, or field greens just wouldn't be the same. There are so many copy cat recipes on the net and all are so different and none, pretty much, are completely from scratch. I wish I could find the perfect from scratch recipe for the dressing!!
And, in imo, nothing beats iceberg on a burger. Or a crispy texmex taco.
I like iceberg a lot too - especially in the summer
One of our weekenight meals when we get home late (ie quick), is
-a bed of iceberg,
-chicken cut into bite size pieces (tossed around in seasoned breadcrumbs and cooked in the oven)
- some crumbled feta
- some Franks Red Hot
- halved grape tomaotes
- Peppercorn or Creamy Cucumber dressing
Last night I did tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, croutons, radishes, yellow peppers. The dressing was Walla Walla sweet onion and poppyseed, from Country Mercantile. It's sort of French-like, pretty much all sugar, no redeeming nutritional quality and very delicious.
Fresh iceberg, before the bottom starts to turn brown and before the stale flavor starts to set in, can be an absolute joy of texture and chill.
Occasionally we'll mix in some radichio or chopped kale or spinach or bok choy for the color variation and subtle flavoring. Minced shallots, kalamata olives, crumbled feta or Gorgonzola, fresh tomatoes from the garden, fresh minced oregano, maybe a few toasted walnuts or pine nuts.
Go to dressing is a simple vinaigrette with lemon juice and just barely enough EV olive oil preferably a fresh pressed nuovo version kept cellared by the case from each December as long as the stash survives......however daughter introduced us to a commercial dressing line, Bianna's, which has some edgy flavor combinations and is the first bottled dressing that tastes incredibly fresh.
Assembled, dressed and seasoned (after the dressing) with fresh ground pepper and some Maldon sea salt flakes scattered over the top.
When I was growing up, "salad" meant 1/4 of a head of iceberg, with Catalina dressing. I also liked it with 1,000 Island then.
I know you said no vinaigrette, but I make one with EVOO, red wine vinegar, paprika, salt, and blue cheese that is excellent on iceberg wedges. Paprika and blue cheese make it worthy of inclusion IMO. After I pour the dressing over the wedge, I sprinkle slivered almonds over the whole thing.
You could also sprinkle raisins or dried cranberries on at the end if they appeal to you.
I have been getting iceberg cravings here in the UK. I put it on fish stick rolls, (called fish fingers here) with ranch dressing and tomatoes. Ran out of rolls and used the larger leaves of the iceberg to sandwich the fish sticks with the dressing. This was done when they were cold and it was surprisingly good. We are having freezing weather here so not sure why I want iceberg lettuce....maybe that is why I haven't run to a full blown salad yet.
I love iceberg lettuce. Cold, crunchy, almost a touch sweet. Yum! I'm sick to death of "spring mix" and spare me from arugula or endive - weeds on a plate, imo.
And second the cobb salad. Lots of avocado, bacon, tomatoes, blue cheese, chicken, mmmm!
When I was a kid, we used to make iceberg lettuce sandwiches. Tear off a good third of the head, on squishy white bread and miracle whip!
Childhood salads were always iceberg lettuce, with grated carrot and whatever leftover cold veggies were in the fridge. Tomatoes too, if they were in season.
Dressing was Good Seasons Bleu Cheese (you bought the little packet, and mixed it up in the GS-made bottle with lines marked for water, oil and vinegar, IIRC).
Grape tomatoes in the off season. Vine ripe from behind the house otherwise...
Cold Vidalia Onion slices.....
Sliced boiled eggs.......
Garlic dill pickles and jalapenos...
A few croutons.....
Capers....if not using a caper dressing.
Anchovies.....if not using a caper dressing.....
Whatever is fresh at the store or out of the garden. Fresh quality ingredients are always better especially in a green salad. Here are some salad thoughts about one of my favorite foods.
Some combination of fresh veggies to make a good base.
These usually are out of my garden:
=> Romaine lettuce (tasty from the garden so grow lots)
=> frilly red lettuce (not sure of name grows like Romaine)
=> iceberg head lettuce
=> Spinach (long growing season - eat fresh most of the year here)
=> butter and other leaf lettuces
=> Radishes (only take about 4-6 weeks and grow all year)
=> cucumbers (English, slicing, and pickling)
=> home made pickles
=> green onion
=> red onion
=> pickled beets
=> pickled green beans
=> pickled asparagus
=> grated carrots (find hard to chew otherwise)
When do not have abundance in the garden or something I don't like to grow supplement the above veggies at the store. When go to a store freshness with a good price are huge factors. The only vegetables can think of I regularly buy and don't grow enough each year for all my salads are:
=> black olives
=> green stuffed olives
=> celery (fresh is best but buy when don't have enough)
=> red onion
=> bean sprouts (think I go more for their texture more than taste)
Home made dressing is huge (sometimes I put multiple kinds on either in their own area or on the whole salad and mix them in my mouth). A good home made dressing is better than anything store bought. High-end salad dressings are expensive and often taste 'off'. For example, home made blue cheese or ranch salad dressing blows Ken's, Kraft, Good Season's, etc away:
=> I make any kind of salad dressing desired from scratch.
Tasty toppings make a difference with added taste / texture:
=> sunflower seeds (shelled)
=> toasted sesame seeds (brown in a non-stick pan)
=> croutons (day old garlic bread works great)
=> bacon bits (often a great addition - fresh are way better)
If want the salad to be a meal instead of a side I add more protein such as: meats, seeds, beans, or seafood:
=> ground beef (sometimes taco seasoned)
=> pork sausage (Jimmy Dean $2.50/lb is less than ground beef - sometimes mix)
=> turkey (ground, shredded, or cooked then cut in square chunks)
=> red beans
=> mixed bean salad (often with Italian Dressing and onions - is good alone)
=> garbonzo beans
=> salad shrimp (Oregon pink shrimp, like fresh frozen are fine)
=> prawns (bigger, boil until just cooked or get tough)
Some of the green salads I eat as a meal include:
LOVE TACO SALAD! There are all kinds of ways to make it. But I like mine with home made ranch as find it combines well with the salsa / hot sauce. Usually I put the warm stuff on the bottom - sometimes over a few crushed chips but chips or not necessary in taco salad. Sometimes I put a few chips on top even if put none on the bottom.
CAESAR is awesome with home made dressing. Fresh romaine. Good croutons. Usually eat chicken, prawn, or shrimp. And other items depending on my mood. Got into them a few decades back after eating at the original place in Tijuana where Caesar Cardini in 1924 around a 4th of July rush when out of supplies created the dressing including the table-side flair now famous (they make them kind of plain with wedges of romaine - like their dressing but not so into the rest as isn't really a meal). A restaurant North on the other side of the main street a couple blocks from the Hotel Del Coronado main entrance on the island in San Diego, CA makes one of the best chicken or shrimp Caesar salads for a meal instead of a side I've ever had.
Crab Louie / Shrimp Louie dinner plate sized salads with 1000 island, hard boiled egg, lots of pickles, olives and fresh veggies are a heck of a meal. Anytime have fresh ingredients for one.
Chef's salad. Great with all kinds of combinations. Too many to list. Ham and Chicken with cheese and bacon bits are a good start. Then add toppings and vegetables listed above you like and have on hand.
My bestest buddy and I are both in search of the ultimate Cobb salad. And the secret for us has been simplicity -- the fussier they get the worse they are!
Iceberg is also the basis for a salad that I've had several times in an Italian restaurant: the "meatball salad." If you haven't heard of this, don't laugh.
Take the iceberg and tear, dress with olive oil, vinegar and a bit of onion and a lot of Gorgonzola, toss well. Place in bowl.
Top this with 2-3 hot Italian-style meatballs in Marinara sauce, and serve with lots of good bread.
It harkens back (kinda) to the hot/cold experience of those "wilted" spinach salads from the '70s.
Now that I own a tortoise I don't buy iceberg because it's not good for the tortoise and I buy salad greens he can eat.
Anyway I love lettuce wraps with iceberg because of their shape and how well they hold.
I also dig iceberg with a mexican salad.
or a very simple salad with carrots, tomato and ginger dressing.
IF we ever have any iceberg lettuce on hand that needs to be used up (likely would've been leftovers from hamburgers or tacos) I would make an easy salad with dark red kidney beans, green onions, and plenty of taco sauce (preferably Taco Bell brand -hey we're talkin about iceberg here so I think it's fine) and a bit of black pepper. Thinking about it now, a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top would be a nice addition.