I can hardly wait for the lettuce and spring onions to be ready. This will be the first thing I make. My grandmother made this every day in the early days of the garden. We all loved it. Wilted salads were created in the mountainous poor rural regions of the early South. Olive oil for dressings was not available or much to expensive in these areas, but bacon drippings were always on hand. The flavor of the ever-so-slightly wilted greens was so wonderful that the salad is still a favorite in most Southern homes today. I always loved to sop up the dressing left in the bottom of the bowl with a chunk of bread.
Remember: The salad must be served as soon as the greens have been tossed with the dressing.
Southern Wilted Salad
8 bacon slices
1 small head red or green leaf lettuce
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, chopped (optional)
5 green onions (including tops), chopped
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Cook bacon in a heavy 12-inch skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels; crumble and set aside. Reserve drippings in skillet to use for dressing. Remove fibrous midribs from lettuce leaves, then tear leaves into bite-size piece. Place in a large salad bowl, add crumbled bacon and cucumber and toss well. When ready to serve, reheat bacon drippings over medium-high heat; add green onions and shake skillet 2 or 3 times. Carefully stir in vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper; boil 1 minute. Pour dressing over salad, toss quickly and serve at once.