Dutch Lettuce

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Dutch lettuce is not like a salad you’d find on either coast, or, for that matter, anywhere outside Midwest farmland, where it, and salads like it, are a staple. The common denominators of all Dutch lettuce are hard-cooked eggs, bacon, sweet-and-sour dressing and, of course, lettuce. At The Coffee Cup, on the town square of Sully, Iowa, its dressing sports a mustard twang, making it a good companion for pork tenderloin or baked ham. Our recipe, adapted from a mimeographed sheet we picked up at a church bake sale many years ago, is for a hot version of the dish, known in much of the Midwest as wilted salad.

Roadfood review of The Coffee Cup

1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons water
6 strips bacon cooked but not hardened, cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water

5 cups coarsely chopped lettuce (a crisp lettuce is preferred: iceberg or romaine)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
4 hard cooked eggs, sliced

            Beat the egg yolk with the sugar and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

            In a small saucepan over medium heat, make a roux by melting the butter and thoroughly blending in the flour. Add the 2 tablespoons of water and turn up the heat to bring it to a low boil. Stir constantly! Pour just a bit of this into the egg yolk mixture, stirring vigorously, then add the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar and water, and finally add the bacon.

            Spread 1/3 of the lettuce in a broad serving dish. Top it with half the chopped onion, then add half the hot dressing. Add another 1/3 of the lettuce and the other half of the chopped onion. Top with more hot dressing. Arrange the slices of hard cooked egg and remaining lettuce and top these with some of the remaining dressing (or all, if you like it really goopy).

            Serves 4-6.

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