Wilted Lettuce with Hot Bacon Dressing is one of those things that I've seen at our family's dinner table my entire life. All of the adults would drool over it and rave about how heavenly it was. I hated it (though I had never tried it). Bacon fat? On a salad? Sick.
I didn't try it until I lived with Pops (my grandpa) and his wife, Mary Carol, for a brief stint after college. Every night Mary Carol and I would come home from work and Pops would have a small feast waiting for us... usually fried chicken, grilled pork chops, spaghetti and meatballs, corn on the cob with a stick of butter- all of the good stuff. Early in the Summer he would make Wilted Lettuce.
Normally I would not have even tried it - I had known for years that it was something I never liked, but for some reason as a guest in their home I didn't feel like I could turn down dinner. So I tried it. And loved it. I asked him what was in it- he assured me I didn't want to know, as Mary Carol and I were constantly requesting healthier dinner options. He was right! The ingredient list may seem strange, but you will love the result- salty, sweet, crispy bacon with fresh greens and onions.
Some purists would say that you can only make "wilted lettuce" with garden lettuce in the Summer, but I make it all year long with leaf lettuce from the market.
with Hot Bacon Dressing
1 head of leaf lettuce
1/4 cup of green onions, sliced
1/4 cup of red onion, sliced thinly
5 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of white vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
Cook bacon until crispy, rendering fat. Drain fat into a small bowl and set bacon aside, letting it cool. Crumble the cooled bacon. To the bacon fat add dijon, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. If the fat is still hot, just stir together the ingredients until the sugar has melted, then pour directly over washed lettuce, crumbled bacon, sliced green onions and red onions in a big bowl. Serve immediately. Don't worry if it is 'wilted' and limp before you get it to the table - it is supposed to be that way!
If you are making it ahead of time, keep the dressing separate. Microwave the dressing for 20-30 seconds, stir, then pour it over the lettuce, bacon and onions just before serving.