My Mom’s Wilted Lettuce

When I was just a tot, my we had a huge garden.  Every night through the summer months, we had SOMEthing out of our garden–sometimes the whole meal was garden fare!  Sweet corn on the cob, fresh green beans, sliced tomatoes and some cucumbers was probably my favorite garden meal–and a tradition that I’ve continued with my own family.

Wilted lettuce was NOT at the top of my “love” list when I was little, but I ate it while it was in-season, secretly pining away for the day when the sun would dry out those tender leaves of Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce that my dad felt made the best wilted lettuce.  Thankfully, the day always came.  After two decades of not having to eat a single leaf of the stuff, I found myself unsatiably hungry for my momma’s wilted lettuce.  I followed a recipe in a cookbook once, and I could hardly eat it.  So, I called Mom and got her version.  It tastes the same to me now as it did back then when I had to choke it down.  Strangely, though, I now enjoy every bite…and have for the past four years.  This version is on the “sweet” side.  If you like more of a vinegar taste, reduce the amount of sugar.

Here’s her recipe:

6 pieces bacon, fried crisp in large skillet, removed from grease and crumbled
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. white vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
1 big colander full of Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce

While bacon is frying, wash lettuce well and spin or pat dry.

Put in a large, heat-safe bowl and top with sliced green onions.

Mix the sugar and vinegar together and pour into hot bacon drippings.  It’ll pop and sputter, so keep your hands back and pour slowly.  Throw in a pinch of salt and a some ground pepper.  Stir a little bit until sugar is dissolved.

Carefully pick up skillet and pour over lettuce and onions.

Toss lettuce, then throw crumbled bacon into bowl and toss again.

Serve immediately.  4-5 servings

Or, this makes a lovely, nostalgic meal all by itself if you don’t share much.


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