The Washington Post

Gem Wedge Salad

Gem Wedge Salad 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post

Aug 5, 2015

Here, the wedge salad is updated by pairing quarters of little gem lettuce with a zippy, Southwestern-inspired vinaigrette and accompaniments.

Make Ahead: The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Where to Buy: We found achiote paste (used in the vinaigrette) at Plaza Latina in Falls Church.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon achiote paste (recado rojo; see headnote)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • For the salad
  • 4 heads little gem lettuce, trimmed and quartered (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn, preferably grilled (from 1 ear)
  • 1 small green tomato or 4 small tomatillos, cut into small dice (husk and rinse the tomatillos)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cow's- or sheep’s-milk ricotta cheese (not low-fat), for garnish
  • Baked or fried tortilla strips, some crushed, for garnish (about 1/3 cup; may substitute lime tortilla chips)


For the vinaigrette: Combine the achiote paste, lime juice, mirin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, mustard and water in a mini food processor; puree until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the canola oil to form an emulsified vinaigrette. The yield is 3/4 cup.

For the salad: Combine the lettuce quarters, corn and tomato in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Season with the salt and toss to coat evenly.

Divide the lettuce quarters among individual plates. Garnish with the corn and tomatoes from the mixing bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette over each portion, then place three 1-teaspoon dollops of the cheese around the salad. Top with the tortilla strips.

Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Kyle Bailey, chef of the Arsenal at Bluejacket in Washington Navy Yard.

Tested by David Hagedorn.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 300

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 30g 46%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 470mg 20%

Total Carbohydrates: 12g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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