Butter lettuce and dandelion salad with hot bacon dressing

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

"Butter lettuce is the easiest lettuce to grow," says Llewellyn. "The leaves are beautifully soft and tender, just begging to be coated with a slick of warm bacon fat." This recipe makes a lot of dressing. We suggest you quarter the ingredients.

  • 1 butter lettuce, core removed, leaves separated
  • 150 gm (1 bunch) dandelion greens, leaves separated, stems trimmed (see note)
  • 50 gm (1 bunch) sorrel, small leaves only, stems trimmed
  • 10 watercress sprigs
  •  
  • Hot bacon dressing
  • 60 gm pork fat (see note)
  • 150 gm smoked bacon, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
01   For bacon dressing, heat pork fat in a saucepan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add bacon and cook until half crisp, darker in colour and the fat has released into the pan (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, chilli flakes and bay leaf and toast until the mixture smells really fragrant and the garlic starts to turn golden brown (about 3 minutes). Add shallot and cook until translucent (about 4 minutes). Stir in vinegar and sugar and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, scraping the base of the pan to release anything that’s stuck. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add cream and bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Add thyme, steep for 15 minutes, then discard thyme.
02   Meanwhile, wash and thoroughly dry all the greens and combine in a mixing bowl.
03   Add lemon rind and juice to the dressing. Ladle the hot bacon dressing over the salad. The greens will slightly wilt and the dressing will coat all the leaves. Haphazardly arrange the salad on a serving platter and enjoy straight away.

Note You'll need to order dandelion greens from a greengrocer, or substitute chicory or another bitter leaf. For pork fat, preheat oven to 170C. Put the fat in a roasting pan and roast for about 1 hour. Transfer to a large stockpot and add 5 litres water. Bring to the boil, then cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Using a metal spatula, scrape the fat off the bottom of the pot; the fat will remain a liquid throughout the process. Turn off the heat and leave the fat to cool for about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any impurities. Makes about 250gm pork fat. This recipe is from Fried Chicken & Friends ($49.99, hbk) by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart, published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

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