The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.24.06


Eat green to perk up, eh?

Feeling wilted? Weather got you down? It appears that Mother Nature has had a plan to green up Quebec with a constant downpour throughout the month of May.

Ironically, Environment Canada predicts a long, hot, dry summer and until it arrives we can do little to coax it along.

This spring season has been very useful for cool weather vegetables that appreciate moisture and chill. If you haven't noticed, there have been many pickers at roadside gathering wild salad ingredients. Adding some warmth to crisp leaves provides a good way to enjoy our seasonal bounty. Enjoy these two classic bacon-smothered salads on a dreary day to help you cheer up. Summer is coming, I promise.

Dandelion Greens with Bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. best slab bacon you can find cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
4 cups torn dandelion or other bitter greens, such as arugula, cress, frisée (trimmed, washed, and dried)
1/4-cup top-quality red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the bacon and cook slowly until it is crisp all over, 10 minutes or more. Add the shallot and cook a minute or two longer, until the shallot softens. Keep the bacon warm in the skillet. Heat a salad bowl by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a minute. Dry it and toss in the greens. Add the vinegar and mustard to the skillet, and bring just to a boil, stirring. Pour the liquid and the bacon over the greens, season to taste (it shouldn't need much salt), and serve immediately.

Wilted Lettuce Salad

5 slices bacon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 head leaf lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
6 green onions with tops, thinly sliced

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove from skillet, crumble and set aside. To the hot bacon drippings, add the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and pepper. Stir over medium heat until hot.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and green onions. Add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.