Helen Getz’s Napa Cabbage with Hot Bacon Dressing

November 22, 2010
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Serves 4 to 6
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • Nancy Lawson Mandoky
    Nancy Lawson Mandoky
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
  • allans
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

12 Reviews

Sherry G. August 25, 2014
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!
Amanda H. August 26, 2014
Now I want to try this with spinach!
Rhonda35 August 19, 2014
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. :-)
Amanda H. August 20, 2014
Oh, right, I forgot about the escarole. Like that version, too.
Muse December 5, 2013
What a great recipe...thanks for sharing it! Peace, Light and Love.
za'atar July 3, 2013
This is a great salad. Delicious!
Amanda H. July 3, 2013
Thank you!
Nancy L. February 6, 2013
I made this tonight! It's so delicious! I added just a smidge (1T) of sugar.
Amanda H. February 4, 2012
Thanks for your thoughtful -- and positive -- feedback!
biennourri January 24, 2012
Delicious! I'll try this with other greens as well.
allans January 15, 2012
Have made this for years with the addition of sweet onion, but without the egg or flour. Delicious!
innoabrd January 25, 2011
Somehow just got on a napa cabbage kick. That was fabulous!