Have you ever been to a restaurant serving the wedge salad? It’s one of my favorite salads. It comes with blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing, some kind of candied nuts, and in some places you’ll get it with reduced balsamic vinegar – you know where you get that wonderful syrupy sweet flavor out of it?
I decided to recreate the wedge salad today even to the point of creating the balsamic vinegar reduction. Little did I know what I was getting in for, however. It took over 2 hours! 2! Before the vinegar would reduce, and that was with periodic stirrings to prevent it from burning especially as it got close to finishing.
So let’s start with the reduction, all you need to do is pour an entire bottle of balsamic vinegar in the sauce pan and as I mentioned earlier stir occasionally. This will take a LONG time so plan accordingly. Your house will smell overwhelmingly like vinegar and you make wonder what in the world would possess you to make such a thing, but believe me…it is the key ingredient to the wedge salad!
While the balsamic vinegar was reducing I decided to go ahead and make my candied nuts…in our case we used walnuts. To make these I just melted butter in a saucepan (about 4 TBLS) and added 2 cups of walnuts. We were feeding three..and this left us with enough left overs to have multiple wedge salads if we wanted. Add 4 TBLS of sugar and a little bit of cinnamon to taste and mix until they’ve caramelized. Spread them out evenly on parchment paper to cool off.
You’ll know when our vinegar has been properly reduced if it starts to thickly coat the spoon and take on the texture of syrup. Remove from heat at this point.
When the long process of reducing the vinegar is finally over you can create your salad.
It’s called a “wedge” salad for a reason, because you take a head of iceberg lettuce and cut it into 4 halves, or wedges, and serve 1 wedge to each person. Pour the blue cheese dressing on, add the blue cheese crumbles and the candied nuts, now grab that reduced vinegar and drizzle it over the top of the salad. It’s going to look like you just added chocolate syrup to the salad, but it tastes nothing like it.