Basics and sides

Wedge salad with ranch dressing

Ranch dressing is a ubiquitous staple in the restaurant of almost every steakhouse in America – but it was not invented by a chef. It was invented by a plumber. In the 1950s, Nebraskan cowhand Steve Henson was working in Anchorage, Alaska as a plumbing contractor. He took to cooking to feed his work teams and invented ranch dressing while making salads. People loved the dressing, and Henson would often serve it to visiting guests at home.

Soon, Henson cottoned to the idea that the dressing could be made from dry ingredients and reconstituted, so he started to sell and mail out packets of it under the name ‘Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. ‘ This was so popular that it launched a multi-million dollar business, employing teams of people to prepare and pack the powder. Hidden Valley Ranch was eventually sold to the Clorox Company in 1972, which mass-produced the dressing and transformed it into a household name.

As for wedge salad, this idea is far older than ranch dressing. Food historians believe it originated in Egypt, but when we consider that wedge salad is a macheted lettuce with ‘something’ on it, I imagine it dates as far back as whichever prehistoric gentleman first found lettuce and thought it might make a decent lunch.

We made wedge salad with a version of ranch dressing that uses fresh herbs from the garden, but we have added notes for dried. This is fine as a light lunch but really comes into its own as a side for a good steak.

Wedge salad with ranch dressing

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By Nigel Eastmond Serves: 2
Cooking Time: None


  • For the salad:
  • 1 gem lettuce, quartered
  • Small handful of Cheddar cheese, grated
  • For the dressing:
  • 200ml mayonnaise
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp onion powder
  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional as mustard is already in the mayo)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the dressing:


Whisk together the mayonnaise and buttermilk. Add all the other ingredients and season to taste.

To assemble the salad:


Arrange the wedges on a plate, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Grind over with a little black pepper.


If using dried herbs, halve the quantities for all of them.

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