Foodstyle Review Magazine

Welcome back iceberg

After decades in exile iceberg lettuce has made a welcomed return in many eateries around the world, including the likes of Al Brown's Depot in Auckland.

When 'designer' lettuces hit the restaurant scene at the start of the 1980s, the thick, crunchy, iceberg lettuce that had been a staple through most of the 20th century was dumped as quick as you can say 'pink peppercorns'. Food fashion is a revolving door, and iceberg is back on the menu.

In the summer 2014-15 issue of Foodstyle magazine we covered Al Brown's iceberg lettuce wedge served with ranch dressing at Depot in Auckland's Casino precinct. It is also published on page 246 of his wonderful book 'Oyster Bar Depot Eatery' (a must for any Kiwi recipe library).

“It [iceberg] is part of our heritage, whether paired with Marmite in a simple white-bread sandwich, or the base for every salad in this country for decades,” Al says in his book.
“It’s all about the crunch, texture, and the way it takes on delicious, sharp, or creamy dressings.

"I liken iceberg lettuce to nature’s vegetable sorbet. Crisp, clean, and always refreshing.”

We presented his recipe in the summer issue, plus a tarted up version of our own. For this spring 2015 issue we present you with another 'wedge' salad recipe that will do you proud over the summer months on any occasion. No cooking required, but wash and dry the lettuce head before cutting into quarters and cutting out the hard white core. Season with flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Great dressings
As Al Brown suggests, sharp and creamy goes well with iceberg, and the trick is to saturate or 'slather' the lettuce wedge with lots of it.
Creamy dressing
Two tbsp hummus; 2tbp plain Greek yoghurt; 2tbps mayo; 4tbsp olive oil; 2 tbsp lemon juice; 3 garlic cloves; ground salt and white pepper to season.

Warm manuka honey and bacon vinaigrette
Cook 1tbsp diced smoked bacon until crisp and place in your 'dressing jar'.Get rid of most of the bacon fat and then deglaze the hot frypan with a little of the vinegar. Add a cup of olive oil and 1/3 of a cup of cider or white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, season with ground salt and white pepper. Pour into jar, put the lid on and shake, shake, shake, until the oil and vinegar forms an emulsion.

Great wedge garnishes
Roasted walnuts, aged gouda or cheddar, grilled corn, bacon crumbles, and brioche croutons.

Spring 2015 

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