Rich sizzling hot pancetta poured over tender dandelion greens and topped with a soft boiled egg…this luscious Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad makes for an easy and filling meal.
Kraft mac and cheese, Bisquick, Spam, and the wilted spinach salad, all invented in the 1930’s. Well…maybe.
The name brand items absolutely were invented during The Great Depression.[note]”Foodways in Rural America during the Great Depression.” Foodways in Rural America during the Great Depression. Accessed June 09, 2016. http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/life_07.html.[/note] The wilted spinach salad…well, the best I can do is to say that a recipe for a salad comprised of wilting lettuce with sizzling bacon fat, bacon, and a hard boiled egg was published in 1933.
There are definitely some similarities between the classic warm spinach salad and the wilted lettuce recipe from The Detroit News Menu Cook Book. The wilted lettuce recipe could be the distant relative of that typical wilted greens, egg, and bacon dish (salads coated in bacon fat are healthy, right?).
When I came across the recipe for wilted lettuce I wasn’t interested until I saw the footnote. That seemingly insignificant note to use dandelion greens instead of the lettuce brought a new delicious salad into my life! I’ve fallen head over heels with this Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad.
The slight bite of the young dandelion greens, saltiness from the pancetta, bright note of the fresh lemon juice, and the richness of that runny yolk…delightfully complex and simple.
My Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad does have some slight tweaks to the original recipe. I chose to use pancetta instead of bacon and went for the runny soft boiled egg because it creates a nice dressing when it naturally mixes with the lemon juice and rendered fat.
Give this contemporary feeling, yet vintage recipe a go the next time you have a friend over…and serve The Abbey Cocktail along side it. You’ll surely enjoy it. Let me know how it goes in the comments or hashtag your Instagram pic #cupofzest I’d love to see how your version comes out!
-Never made a soft boiled egg? It’s easy and this video for the best trick to peel a soft boiled egg has you covered!
-Don’t like a runny yolk and don’t want to use pancetta? Feel free to cook the egg to your liking and use any type of bacon you have on hand.
-If you haven’t used dandelion greens before, look for a bunch that has smaller leaves, a thinner stalks, and do not taste bitter when you take a bite. Seriously…the best way to tell if those greens are not going to be super bitter is to taste it. So ask the vendor at your farmers market for a taste or if you are in the grocery store sneak a leaf from a bunch!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, roughly chopped
- 10 oz young (small) dandelion greens, thoroughly washed
- 2 soft boiled eggs
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (more to taste)
- Flake salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Bring olive oil to medium-high heat in a skillet. Add pancetta, and cook until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- While the pancetta cooks, cut the ends off the greens and tear or cut into bite sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Once the pancetta is crisp, add it and the hot fat from the pan to the greens.
- Add the lemon juice, a few pinches of salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Top with the soft boiled eggs and serve immediately.