Kilt Greens

Kilt Greens with hard boiled egg

In the spring-time, kilt greens are available for preparation and service. Kil’t greens are made by boiling tender garden lettuces and the nascent leaves of wild local plants, dressed with a hot bacon and onion vinaigrette, and served hot.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soup_beans

No, we’re not talking about a Scottish tartan pattern here. “Kilt” is Appalachian dialect for “killed”. So what are “killed” greens? Maybe you’ve heard of hot bacon dressing? Kilt greens are wilted in a dressing made of hot bacon drippings, onion, and vinegar.

This is traditionally a spring dish, made with young lettuces and wild greens. You can use pretty much any type of tender green for this, ranging from lettuce, to baby kale, to dandelions. Watercress seems to be a popular choice. However, I used full sized romaine lettuce, and I can’t say I recommend it for this particular dish. I mean don’t get me wrong, romaine coated in bacon grease is absoutely delicious, but it’s not quite tender enough to properly wilt when the hot grease hits it (The leftovers were actually still moderately crisp and salad like the next day, which I wouldn’t normally expect of a dressed salad. That’s how not wilted it was.) In the future I will likely try some type of baby greens instead of full grown lettuce.

That said, there does seem to be a range of opinion on just how wilted your greens should be, ranging from just barely to fully cooked. Some of the recipes I looked at called for actually tossing the greens in the pan with the hot grease rather than pouring it over them in the bowl, which would actually wilt sturdier greens. One thing I don’t recall seeing was any recipes calling for boiling the greens first, which wikipedia claims is how they are made. Obviously that would result in a well wilted dish. However wilted you make them, they make a nice green accompaniment to a soup beans supper.


Kilt Greens

Serves: 5
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10-15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

2 lbs. leaf lettuce (8-9 cups), torn into bite sized pieces
OR
2 lbs. young greens (kale, mustard, dandelion…)

5 strips bacon

5 green onions, cut into 1” lengths
5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
⅛ teaspoon kosher Salt
Black pepper to taste

Hard boiled egg

Optional:
Hot pepper vinegar
Red onion
2 Tablespoons bacon fat, (omit bacon)
1 Tablespoon sugar

Place your lettuce in a bowl and set aside.

Put your bacon strips in a cold skillet and place over medium heat. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is cooked to your desired level of crispiness. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Return fat to heat, add green onion and sauté for a minute or two until slightly softened. Carefully add the vinegar (it will splatter), stir and quickly pour over greens, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the bacon in and serve, topped with sliced hard boiled eggs.

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