Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rite of Spring: Wilted Lettuce

Thankfully, we live in a world where fresh produce can be obtained all winter, but it wasn't always so.  My mom talked about how tired her family grew of canned vegetables with nothing fresh to eat.  Her family loved the first green vegetables of spring. She always planted early lettuce and onions for spring salads that we called wilted lettuce.  It wasn't really spring until we had one.  

We had wilted lettuce Tuesday for lunch.  Just in case you have forgotten how, this is the way I make mine.

Bacon.  This just won't work without bacon.  The amount I use varies with how much I have in the refrigerator.  I usually use more than this, but I was in no mood to go to the grocery store Tuesday morning.

Chop it up fine, then put in a skillet and cook it slow and low until it is crisp and there is a good amount of bacon fat.

This is deer tongue lettuce from our garden.  We usually plant black-seeded Simpson lettuce, but someone sent me these seeds so that's what we have.  This is a good hand full (how can you measure lettuce?). Try not to make too much, because it is really not that good after it gets cold.

I would estimate 2 or 3 cups once it is chopped up. 

In the meantime, keep stirring that bacon!

Chop up two or three green onions, including the green parts.  I kindly asked Hub to go to the garden to get some onions.  He brought them in the kitchen, clean with all the green chopped off.  Of course, I kindly asked him to go back and get some more with the green blades on!  

 After Hub and I had been dating a while, he was invited to eat with my family on  occasion.  One time, in the spring, we were all enjoying green onions and he was sure there was going to be a mass extinction of the Stricklin clan.  He had been taught that the green blades were poisonous, and had never eaten one.  His world  broadened considerably when he met me. However, some forty-five years later, he is still inclined to cut the green off. But I digress.

Chop the onions small, like this.  Add them to the chopped lettuce and mix it all together.

Pour the delicious bacon bits and fat all over the salad.

Now, ain't that purty? I'm getting hungry all over again.

Toss well, coating every shred of lettuce and onion with that heavenly bacon grease.

Just add some cornbread and whatever you can find in the frig. Tuesday, it was grilled chicken leftover from Sunday.  Grab some iced tea and you are good to go.  Enjoy.