Some of the recipes from my personal, day-to-day cooking repertoire I don’t consider blog-worthy. Even though they may have accompanied me throughout many years, they are typically dead simple and hardly need written instructions. So I thought. Today’s salad recipe is one of them, but since many friends (and just recently even Bärbel, Oliver’s mum) begged me for written instructions, I finally had to give in.
This salad is THE salad – the first salad I remember eating with pure pleasure as well as the first salad I ever requested repeatedly from my grandma Luise. The picky eater I once was as a kid, salad greens never were an easy sell for my family. Who would have guessed that all it took were some rendered bacon bits? Of course, the quality of the basic ingredients couldn’t have been better: the pork fat usually came from farming friends nearby and the lettuce grew in my grandma’s own vegetable garden. I watched her cutting a thick slice from the fat into small cubes and rendering them until golden and crisp. This was always the moment, when grandpa miraculously found his way into the kitchen, following the irresistible bacon aroma that was spreading throughout the house.
In our family these bacon bits go by the name Speckalla and they make all the difference in the world to a lettuce! That and the dressing, which contains the liquefied, warm lard instead of oil.
Careful though, it let’s the salad leaves wilt rather quickly – on the other hand, it never really becomes a problem: Oliver and I can empty a huge bowl within less then 5 minutes – always fighting over who gets most of the Speckalla…
Give the lettuce leaves an elaborate wash in cold water, then spin dry with a salad spinner (an investment I never regretted). Cut or gently tear the larger leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash, pad dry and finely chop the chives.
Prepare the bacon bites (Speckalla): Dice the pork fat into small cubes (about 1 cm/0,4 inch, they will shrink enormously). Heat a pan to medium heat, add the pork fat cubes and render them slowly, turning them from time to time until they have gained an even golden color. Take out with a skimmer and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper (absorbs excessive fat). Do not discard the rendered fat in the pan.
Prepare the dressing: Mix together sea salt, black pepper, sugar, white wine vinegar and the hot bacon fat (spices to taste, 2 parts vinegar, 3 parts bacon fat – be careful, it might spatter a bit) and season to your liking.
Assemble! Toss the lettuce with the warm dressing and the chives, arrange in a bowl and sprinkle with the crisp bacon bites (Speckalla). Eat immediately – the warm dressing makes the salad wilt very quickly, so this salad will keep its fresh crunch only for a few minutes!
Recipe source: grandma Luise
Prep time: ~20min.
Ingredients (for 2 as a snack):
1 head of lettuce (butterhead)
~100-150 g raw pork fat
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar
white wine vinegar