A refreshing take on the classic wedge salad, this wedge is cut from a head of striking Romanesco, a cauliflower-like beauty with the perfect shape to capture and hold a tangy creme fraiche dressing with herbs and feta.


wedge of blanched romanesco with herby feta creme fraiche dressing, garnished with radishes.

On rare occasions, when I spot a head of Romanesco (a.k.a. Roman Cauliflower, see info box below) at the grocer, I snatch them up. Are they that rare in your neck of the woods? They are such a thing of beauty, with their geometric fractal shape created by nature, that I hesitate even to want to cut into them. Thus, this wedge salad was born, where I blanched wedges of Romanesco to soften their edges but maintain the crunch of the little tree-like spears and created a variation of wedge salad dressing, made creamy and tangy with creme fraiche (a wonder ingredient, if you ask me), chunky and briney with salty feta and delicately flavorful with chopped fresh herbs. Enjoy!

overhead view of romanesco wedge salad.

Why this recipe works

As with the classic wedge salad, this recipe is simple to make, where the wedge is mild yet crunchy and the dressing is briney and creamy all at once. The wedges of Romanesco are blanched to remove the crumbly tendency of raw cruciferous vegetables, enhance the green color, and create a texture that has bite and nuttiness. In place of the creamy blue cheese dressing that covers most wedges, I’ve created what I think is a super simple, brilliant dressing! How, you ask? By taking creme fraiche, a cultured creme full of tang, watering it down a tad to become dressing consistency, then distributing chopped fresh herbs and feta crumbles throughout.

head of roman cauliflower, also known as Romanesco.

Above left: raw Romanesco cut into wedges. Right: the wedges after blanching for 5 minutes.

Ingredient notes

  • Romanesco- If you are excited about this salad but cannot locate a head of Romanesco, you can certainly use cauliflower in its place.
  • Creme Fraiche dressing- I love dressing with creme fraiche, but you can also substitute it with watered-down sour cream. I think the key to this dressing’s success is that creme fraiche and sour cream are cultured (tangy flavor) and rich (full fat), so I don’t recommend substituting with yogurt unless you use full fat.
creme fraiche dressing ingredients.

Above: Dressing Ingredients

Step-by-step instructions

This recipe has two parts to it – first whisk up the dressing and then prepare the Romanesco.

To make the dressing you scoop some creme fraiche into a small bowl, and whisk it with some water to create a thinner, drippy dressing consistency, then add crumbled feta, chopped fresh herbs and mix with a fork, adding salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to taste. It’s that simple.

To prepare the Romanesco, you cut the head into four wedges, and use tongs to drop and turn them in a pot of salted boiling water to blanche for about 5 minutes, until a fork can pierce the wedges some. Be careful not to boil for too long or the fork will pierce all the way through and the wedges will break into pieces. The blanching is meant to take the raw edge off the vegetable’s flavor, but you still want a good bite. Use tongs to place the blanched vegetables into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking.

After the Romanesco is chilled, place on a clean kitchen or paper towel to drain any excess water and either serve or chill until ready to serve salad.

Tips for making this recipe

  • You can plate the wedge salads individually as shown in the photos above or you can place all the wedges on a serving platter and drizzle with the dressing and garnishes.
  • Garnishes- To add a nice zing and color, I garnish this salad with slices of or grated radish. Below I’ve grated watermelon radish, and used both in the other photos. You could also garnish it with fresh herbs.
  • Ideally, store the dressing and wedges separately for leftovers so that you can quickly whisk up the dressing when you go to serve it again, thin it a tad with water, or warm it to room temperature so the dressing flows freely. Sometimes, a fatty dairy product will stiffen when cold.
serving platter with wedges of romansco and dressing.

Related recipes

If you love a good salad, try my Carrot Cucumber Daikon Salad with Cilantro Citrus Dressing, or if cruciferous veggies are your favorite, try my Whole Cauliflower Sheet Pan Dinner or my Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup.

romanesco wedge salad with creme fraiche dressing.
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wedge of blanched romanesco with herby feta creme fraiche dressing, garnished with radishes.

Romanesco Wedge Salad with Herby Feta Creme Fraiche Dressing

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Servings4
A refreshing take on the classic wedge salad, this wedge is cut from a head of striking Romanesco, a cauliflower-like beauty with the perfect shape to capture and hold a tangy creme fraiche dressing with herbs and feta.
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 3 qt soup pot

Ingredients
 

  • 1 head Romanesco (can sub cauliflower)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (can sub sour cream or whole fat yogurt)
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (plus 1 tsp for blanching Romanesco)
  • 4 radishes (for garnish- plain or watermelon)

Method:  

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add tsp salt.
  • Cut Romanesco into 4 wedges and use tongs to place in boiling water, turning occasionally, until slightly tender (just 5 minutes).
  • Remove blanched Romanesco from water and place in bowl of ice water to stop cooking and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Use tongs to remove chilled Romanesco wedges from ice water, place on clean kitchen towel or paper towels to drain excess water, then place on platter or individual plates for serving (can also do this ahead and chill until ready to serve).
  • Whisk 2 tbsp of water into the 1/2 cup of creme fraiche, then stir in the crumbled feta and chopped fresh herbs, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Adjust seasonings after tasting.
  • Drizzle dressing over individual wedges or serve all wedges on one platter with dressong drizzled and serve at table. Garnish with radish slices.
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