I was having a conversation with my mom about foods that we ate twenty years ago. A lot of it was stuff that she used to cook for us… but that turned to a conversation about stuff my Grandma used to make. Cinnamon ice cream, fried walleye, cheese sandwiches… and then my mom mentions wilted lettuce.
“What the heck are you talking about, mom?”
“Grandpa loved the stuff. Grandma would make it for him. It was lettuce with bacon grease.”
Welp. I’m intrigued. Time to plow into some research.
Yup, it was a pretty common side dish back in the day. Lettuce and bacon grease. There were lots of different ways to do it and everyone seemed to have a different recipe, so it was time to do some experimenting and find one that I liked.
Here’s what I came up with. I dub thee: Grandpa Salad.
Grandpa Salad (wilted lettuce)
recipe adapted from Taste of Home
8 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large or 2 small heads romaine lettuce
1/2 cup green onions, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
In a large skillet, cook bacon pieces until crispy.
Remove from heat and place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk the mixture into the bacon drippings on the stove. Turn heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture is thickened (and can coat the back of a metal spoon) around 3-5 minutes.
In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, onion and bacon. Toss the warm dressing with the salad. Serve immediately.