I learned how to make this recipe from my grandmother Leah (the wife of our Agency president from 1941-1985) and understand it came from Germany originally. We serve this on major holidays and it is the most sought after item on the menu. My father loves this so much that he will have seconds or thirds. It’s really rather ridiculous as we have turkey or ham and all the other fabulous items that go with family meals and yet it is always the wilted lettuce that is a focus.
The critical item with wilted lettuce is the timing. As soon as the bacon is done and crispy it must be added promptly to the lettuce, mixed with the vinegar and served immediately. This gets everyone to the table which is an added plus even if there is a bit of good natured hurry up and arguing who gets the sugar bowl first. The combination of flavors is very interesting to experience.
I think the reason why it is also coveted so much is because we do not serve it that often so it is super special. Last year at our annual holiday gathering for our office I made the salad on-site for the brave staff that were willing to try it and it as a huge success.
Ingredients (16 servings/people):
- Red leaf or Boston lettuce – 4 full sized heads
- Red onions, thinly sliced – 2
- Hard boiled eggs sliced – 1 dozen
- Bacon cut into small pieces (use scissors) 1 ½ packages
- Vinegar – to taste
- Sugar – enough to sprinkle lightly on top
- Wash, dry and break up the lettuce into a salad bowl
- Add sliced onions
- Add sliced eggs
- Prepare the bacon in a hot skillet. Cook until just crispy
- Add the bacon along with the bacon grease to the salad along with the vinegar to taste
- Toss and serve immediately
- Put sugar on the table and salad eaters should put a bit of sugar on top of their serving