Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Vegetable Sides

Wilted Lettuce
Creamy Dilled Zucchini

These two recipes are my absolute favorite vegetable sides on the planet!

Wilted lettuce is a dish I grew up on. The hot fried bacon pieces are simply hit with vinegar and sugar to create a delicious warm dressing for the garden lettuce to wilt into. I could eat this every day over anything, hands down.

This zucchini dish is all at once fresh, rich and creamy; made with a dressing of sour cream, mayo and milk with a handful of fresh dill and lot of cracked black pepper. I love dill in the summer and this is one of my favorite uses of the fresh herb.

Wilted Lettuce:
For one head of chopped lettuce (wilts down to the amount pictured):

I use a nice leafy green lettuce for this. You can use romaine or spring greens or even fresh spinach.

Chop 3 strips of good thick cut bacon into pieces and brown over medium heat in a large skillet. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of wine vinegar or rice vinegar. Don't stick your nose or eyes in there at this time! You will regret it if you do! Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar and taste. Adjust vinegar and sugar and add salt to taste. Reduce your heat to low and toss your chopped lettuce into the sauce. Continue to toss until the leaves are beginning to wilt and the size of your pile of greens has reduced by half. Add cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and rest, tossing here and there for about five minutes. The greens will continue to wilt off the heat (especially if you're using a cast iron pan). Season with salt and pepper if needed. This is good anywhere from hot to barely warm.

Creamy Dilled Zucchini:
To fill an 8 by 8 pan.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Slice a medium sized zucchini into one inch discs. Place them in a pan in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sour cream, a dollop of mayo and enough milk or cream to create a thick but pourable sauce. Fold in 1/8 cup fresh dill, finely chopped.

Pour the sauce over the zucchini slices and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt and lots of cracked black pepper. You may also want to add a few cloves of chopped garlic at this point.

Bake until the top is browning; about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a bit until it's able to be eaten. Season with salt and pepper on the plate.



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