Valentine’s Day this year is on a Monday and we are staying home for a warm, cozy dinner by the fire. Our menu isn’t going to be fancy. Instead, we’ve chosen to flavor it with a touch of nostalgia. To start our meal, the salad course is a revisit of an iconic 60’s dish known as “Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing”. Wilted lettuce is also known as “killed lettuce” or “kilt lettuce” because the greens soften under the hot, tangy dressing. It was my late father-in-law’s favorite salad. Grandmother prepared it for him at least a few times a month.
Wilted lettuce salad likely came from Eastern Europe with versions of it appearing in Poland and other countries. After the dish traveled to America with immigrants, Southerners began putting their spin on this wonderfully delectable salad. And, in true southern style, it was enjoyed with freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins.
Outdoor spring seed starting season for lettuce is typically sometime between February 1st and March 15th so now is a good time to consider your options. A sturdy, spring lettuce such as romaine, spinach or red leaf works well for this salad. Look for other varieties that will keep some of their “crunch” when tossed with the hot bacon dressing.
Botanical Interests features a Chef’s Gourmet Spicy Mix with over six different texture-filled greens to excite your taste buds. Guerney’s offers a Premium Lettuce Seed Blend with a colorful combination of various textures and shapes. Have fun planning your spring salad garden.
Linda Alexander, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2008