After recently listening to Tony Joe White’s 1969 swamp-rock classic, Polk Salad Annie, I decided to do a little research on this age-old, southern phenomenon. This version by Robert Priddy seems to be the most common, however, be sure to follow the instructions because the consequences could be “unsettling”.
Southern Poke Sallet
- 1 bunch poke sallet
- 3 to 4 large eggs
- 1/2 lb thick smoked bacon
- 1 medium red onion — diced
- Salt & pepper – to taste
- Apple cider vinegar – to taste
Pick poke when it is small enough to be tender. Carefully remove the stems, using leaves only. Parboil in enough water to cover greens. This takes about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Cook a second time, until leaves are very tender, drain water off. This 2 step cooking process removes excessive Vitamin A in the leaves which may be toxic.
Though it may be an unnecessary precaution, I would recommend cooking the leaves a third time and draining them, just to be extra sure.
In a skillet cook your bacon to obtain bacon drippings.
Remove bacon, sauté onions. Add drained greens, stirring well. Break eggs into greens and scramble all together. Then crumble your bacon and mix it all together.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.
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This is an old Appalachian favorite handed down by the Native Americans “Cherokee”. In order to prepare properly, do not pick when the stalks turn too red. It must be picked in the spring to mid-July, before the berry pods form. The leaves must be washed and boiled 3 times, for about half an hour each time. Never eat the stalk. Try cooking it in some bacon grease, in an iron skillet after it’s boiled. Season with some salt and pepper and it’s as good as collard greens or spinach ever tasted. Enjoy!
Thanks for your input Kat! I do remember seeing something about the berries and stems through my Googling about this. I probably should have included that in this post, so I’m glad you pointed this out! After all, when it comes to picking edibles out of the wild, you can’t be too careful!
The stalks are good too cooked like okra after parboiling 2 times and drained well. . I’ve cooked the stalks like this for years. I strip as much of the red off as I can get off. But it is really good. I don’t care for the greens. I’m from Oklahoma and I learned this from my mother-In-law 56 years ago.
I cut up stalks young ones like okra batter in fry them delicious 64 yrs old not died yet
Thanks for your help,I use to see my mother cook poke salad, but I forgot how she did it,I found some in my yard and decided to try to cook it, so I got directions on to from you, then it came back to me.getting ready to cook now.thanks again.