This year I had some lettuce volunteer to grow in one of my pots. I ignored it and it grew and grew and grew. In fact, it was about 2 feet tall when I took this picture on Sunday.
I decided to make a salad with some of it and cut off about a third of it for dinner. I remembered that my mom made a salad dressing with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, but I didn’t remember the proportions and decided I’d wait to experiment on that dressing another time.
I looked up a recipe in James Beard’s American Cookery cookbook. All of his cookbooks always have good, traditional recipes. Since leaf lettuce is a little bitter, I wanted something with sugar in it to offset that bitterness. This recipe, which is similar to a hot bacon dressing used on spinach salads, was delicious.
Wilted Lettuce Salad
2 cups Leaf lettuce (or baby spinach is good, too)
1/2 a Vidalia onion, sliced in thin rounds or diced
2 slices bacon
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into small pieces (optional)
James Beard says to use a warm bowl to serve the salad. I didn’t do that and it was terrific anyway. Wash the lettuce and pat it dry. Slice the onions and toss them on top of the lettuce. If using the egg, add it now.
Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and crumble over the top of the lettuce. In the same frying pan, pour in the sugar and vinegar and whisk until smooth and syrupy. Immediately pour the sauce over the lettuce and serve promptly. Since I had precooked bacon, I simply warmed up the bacon in the pan with a little olive oil and then continued with the rest of the recipe as written above. Olive oil is better for you than bacon grease, so I suggest you try the recipe this way.