I just sent in my monthly column for my (Atlanta) neighborhood newsletter, The Leaflet—another excuse for neglecting this poor blog. In it, I offered a recipe for wilted lettuce salad, one of those old-fashioned dishes that flies in the face of modern sensibilities. It’s basically hot bacon fat poured over fresh lettuce.
What puzzles me now is where the heck this recipe came from. I had thought, given the bacon fat, that it originated in southern Appalachia–from some woman like my grandmother who needed to spruce up the spring lettuce, looked at the bacon drippings in the jar next to the stove, and thought it would be a good combination. But in poking around on the Internet, I’ve found it mentioned from folks who’d eaten it in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.
I’ll just have to keep looking. I wonder if they teach these kinds of things in cooking school?
Wilted Lettuce Salad
For two people: Tear 2 – 3 cups Romaine lettuce into one to two-inch pieces, including spine. Slice two scallions (include some of the green section.) Place in serving bowls. Fry four pieces of bacon in skillet until very crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and place on papertowels to drain. Drizzle hot bacon fat over lettuce, stirring frequently, to coat lightly. Salt generously. Top with crumbled bacon and serve immediately.
Variation: Add ¼ cup vinegar and 2 tbps. sugar to bacon fat. Heatuntil mixture just reaches the boil and pour over lettuce.
I think I’ll have this for dinner tonight.>Paul
I made a wilted salad–of sorts. I should have printed and taken your recipe with me. What I did was to render two strips of bacon in a skillet, then fry the lettuce in the hot bacon grease. I think the result would have been much better had I poured the grease over the lettuce.>Paul
Dearie me, no. Just drizzle the bacon over the lettuce like you would a vinaigrette. You also have to be sure to eat the salad immediately, while it’s still pretty hot.