killed salad, kilt salad noun A salad made by pouring boiling grease over lettuce or other greens. Same as wilted salad.
Each Spring The Deer Hunter and I look forward to the first kill lettuce of the season. Various names are used for the traditional Appalachian dish: killed lettuce, kilt lettuce, wilted lettuce, lettuce and onions, lettuce, killed salad.
Just like different families call the dish by different names-it’s also cooked a little different by folks too. Today I’ll share 2 of the most common recipes with you. Both recipes are the same in regards to serving. Kill Lettuce should be served immediately after making.
The dish uses fresh leaf lettuce from the garden-or even branch lettuce that grows wild along the creek and branch banks.
The way Granny taught me: Begin by picking and washing your leaves of lettuce-making sure to dry off as much water as possible. Sometimes I wash mine early in the morning and leave it drying on a towel on the counter.
Next-cut up several green onions and mix with torn lettuce in a bowl-adding salt and pepper to taste.
Pour hot bacon or salt pork (Pap and Granny call it streaked meat) grease over the lettuce onion mixture. Be prepared for lots of hissing and popping when the grease hits the lettuce. Stir and serve quickly. It doesn’t take much grease-a little bit goes a long way. I’ve found hot olive oil works well too.
Miss Cindy’s family made Kill Lettuce by a different recipe-but one that is also common throughout Appalachia:
I learned from Dad how to make wilted/killed lettuce.
Cook a few slices of bacon and crumble it in a bowl on top of the torn lettuce and cut green onions (cut onions including the tops). Add salt and pepper. Heat the remaining bacon grease and pour it on the greens then add vinegar or lemon juice to the hot pan and swirl it then pour it on the greens. Toss the bowl contents to mix and eat immediately…with cornbread. The lettuce is so fragile that it doesn’t take much grease to wilt it and the lemon/vinegar is hot so it helps to wilt it as well.
Our favorite way to eat kill lettuce is with cornbread and soup beans (pinto beans). The other day we had it with hamburgers-it was pretty good that way too-actually it ain’t bad with a piece of light bread.
Ever kill your lettuce?