In Alsace this salad, accompanied by potatoes (boiled in their skins or sautéed) would most often represent the body of a family supper. In Lyonnaise country, a certain amount of chopped, hard-boiled egg and potato (boiled in the skin, peeled, then sliced hot) might be tossed with the salad, and it might preface a lovely mess of tripe. In the first instance, it would be washed down with a Zwicker or a Sylvaner and, in the second, with a young and light-bodied, cool Beaujolais.
If slab bacon is not easily available, use lean packaged bacon, taking care to cook it slowly until semicrisp—neither flabby nor crumbly.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, slice off the ribs of the visible remaining leaves, wash, cut in half vertically, remove the core, and shred the two halves as for coleslaw. Pick out and discard thick sections from inside ribs. Pack into the salad bowl, pour over boiling water, and leave, covered, to steep for ten minutes or so.
Cook the bacon wedges, with a spoonful of olive oil to start them off, over a moderate heat, tossing regularly until lightly crisp on all sides.
Drain the cabbage, pressing to extract the maximum of liquid, return to the hot salad bowl, season with salt, grind over a generous amount of pepper, pour over the bacon and its fat, the vinegar, and the oil, and toss rapidly but thoroughly. Serve on preheated plates.
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.