Helen Getz’s Napa Cabbage with Hot Bacon Dressing

By • November 22, 2010 12 Comments

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Author Notes: I grew up eating my grandmother's salads with hot bacon dressing. She makes hers with escarole; my mother uses sweeter Napa cabbage (which, in retrospect, I have no idea how she found in our small town in Pennsylvania). Bacon dressings usually consist of crisp bacon, bacon fat and vinegar. But my grandmother’s is first thickened with flour, then loosened with not only vinegar but water, too. Then, when it all seems a little watered down and hopeless, you thicken it with egg, which creates a little magic in the dish –- concentrating the texture, amplifying the vinegar and whipping up a delicious foil for the salty bacon.Amanda Hesser

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (you’ll need 6 to 8 cups)
  • 8 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/ 4-inch lardons
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Place the cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Add the bacon to a medium sauté pan and set over medium heat. Render the bacon fat and brown the bacon, adjusting the heat as needed. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel, then pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat (approximate, don’t measure) from the pan.
  2. Set the pan over medium low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Season with the salt. Gradually – and slowly! – whisk this mixture into the egg.
  3. Sprinkle the bacon on the cabbage, then pour 3/4 of the dressing over the cabbage and toss to mix. Add more dressing as desired (I like a fair amount). Serve with grilled pork chops, roasted potatoes and beer.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Appetizers|Salads|Side Dishes|Cabbage

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Comments (12) Questions (2)


about 1 year ago Sherry Gregory

As a little girl growing up on the farm, my mother made a hot bacon, vinegar dressing which she used on spinach, and I never asked her to copy down the recipe. Mom never used a recipe for anything, and I am ecstatic to find this recipe. Going to try this one right away on cabbage and spinach. Thanks you!


about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Now I want to try this with spinach!


about 1 year ago Rhonda35

Thanks for adding this to the archives, Amanda! I tend to misplace my copy and my fudging ends up hit or miss. To this day, I am impressed that Gram and Mom can make this from memory. I think I'm going to try this dressing with kale or collards - I bet it softens them just the right amount. Also, as an aside, Mom used escarole for many years when we were kids and it wasn't till the 1980's that she got fancy and switched to napa cabbage. :-)


about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Oh, right, I forgot about the escarole. Like that version, too.


over 1 year ago Muse

What a great recipe...thanks for sharing it! Peace, Light and Love.


about 2 years ago za'atar

This is a great salad. Delicious!


about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you!


over 2 years ago Nancy Lawson Mandoky

I made this tonight! It's so delicious! I added just a smidge (1T) of sugar.


over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for your thoughtful -- and positive -- feedback!


over 3 years ago biennourri

Delicious! I'll try this with other greens as well.


over 3 years ago allans

Have made this for years with the addition of sweet onion, but without the egg or flour. Delicious!


over 4 years ago innoabrd

Somehow just got on a napa cabbage kick. That was fabulous!