Appetizers are a mainstay of holiday parties, lots of cheese, phyllo, puff pastry, tarts, crackers and meats. If we’re lucky there are bowls of olives & pickles, and some raw veg to balance things out. I think that adding a cold crisp salad is a perfect foil for the rest of the menu.
Recently I was invited to a party that was to embrace the 50’s & 60’s. Most of my time in those periods, was toddling around in nappies, skinning my knees while learning to ride a bike, watching my mom go crazy for the Beatles, and my sister becoming a hippy.
My only true memory of foods of that time was when mom & dad would have Bridge night. A group of 8 or 12 neighbours would play once a month, rotating houses. I well remember getting up early the next day and scavenging through the living room, eating leftover AD mints, black olives, gherkins, and the ultimate, broiled spam & cheese on open dinner rolls. Mom would grate spam, and cheddar (not even Velveeta), mix with mayonnaise (never Miracle Whip) and then spread this on top of dinner rolls. Broiled just until the cheese melted and the spam sputtered, they were absolutely decadent.
Okay, so my tastes have changed somewhat from when I was eight.
The Wedge Salad was an ever-present menu item for the 50’s & 60’s. It lost favour when Romaine started edging it out in the 70’s, and open leaf lettuces with vinaigrette started to take over. The lowly iceberg lettuce has always remained on the produce shelves because it has some amazing qualities. First off, no other lettuce can replace its crispness. It holds up well to tossing, and works well with other lettuces to give your salad some lift. It also seems that the iceberg lettuce of today, is more open and green than the ones of even 20 years ago, which is great.
The lettuce is what makes this appetizer fresh & crispy, and a wonderful addition to an appetizer buffet. The recipe is followed with notes on plating a basic Wedge Salad, if you want to go traditional. Continue reading