Why You Should Consider Using A Vinaigrette On Your Wedge Salad

Do you know what else you see on steakhouse menus aside from the obvious? Wedge salads. It's one of the few, if not the only, salad options that beckons to be sliced like a steak prior to its consumption. Iceberg lettuce is on the more affordable scale when it comes to "greens" in a supermarket. When paired with additions like tomatoes, onions, and bacon bits, it's almost a wonder why it deserves a place next to a tomahawk steak.

But perhaps the beauty of a modern wedge salad comes, first and foremost, in its presentation. Such toppings, as well as a thick and creamy dressing, gently drape over a wedge of iceberg lettuce like a jeweled scarf, wrapping each bite with the highest of textural contrasts. Serious Eats notes that a wedge salad should feel like a "mouth party" with very small cuts of vegetables so the fork can pick up all those textures in one bite.

Veggies aside, thick and creamy dressings add an element of richness to the salad, as implied by MasterClass. But why should ranch or blue cheese hog all the glory? What's wrong with using a vinaigrette on such a mountainous pile of greens?

Brightness and acidity

Per Science and Food, vinaigrettes are made up of oil, vinegar, and a few other ingredients like black pepper, oregano, and dijon mustard. The ratio is typically 1:3 of vinegar to oil, via Recipe Tips, so it's just enough acidity for lots of chilled dishes like southwest pasta salads and wedge salads.

Adding a vinaigrette atop a wedge salad will certainly cut down on the richness. This isn't a bad thing, especially for those who want a lighter type of salad. MasterClass explains that iceberg lettuce has a neutral flavor, making it a tasty pairing for red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or an Italian vinaigrette. A change of the usual bleu cheese dressing may also call for a swap in some of the toppings, and as the source suggests, substitute diced cucumbers for tomatoes and feta cheese for blue cheese crumbles.

But what does a vinaigrette do for a wedge salad? Well, as Brunch with Joy explains, the oil aspect of the dressing adds some smoothness to the salad, while the vinegar part adds some tartness. And if the vinaigrette is seasoned with things like parmesan cheese, honey, or mustard, via Food.com, you'll also get some of those flavors within each bite. So, for instance, you'll get some saltiness from the parmesan cheese, extra tang from the mustard, and/or sweetness from the honey if such ingredients are used in the dressing, which adds dimension and depth to the salad.