Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Technique Tuesday: The Skinny on Lettuce!

I am a huge fan of lettuce, and lately there are a million varieties to choose from in the grocery store. I use different types of lettuce for salads, to top my tacos and on all varieties of sandwiches. Below is a quick rundown of a few of my favorites. Hopefully it gives you a quick guideline of the best uses of each.
1. Iceberg
Iceberg is the lettuce that everyone has been eating their entire lives. It's crisp and refreshing and is my favorite choice for topping tacos or making the classic wedge salad. It has less nutritional value than other, darker varieties of lettuce but is a popular choice for salads and sandwich toppers.

2. Romaine
This lettuce is a delicious alternative to classic iceberg. It is great for daily dinner salads and is a staple of Caesar salad recipes. I really like using Romaine for fresh salads and to top sandwiches.

3. Bibb/Boston
Bibb/Boston lettuce is a softer variety of lettuce that is so yummy under chicken or tuna salads. When you order a lettuce wrap in a restaurant, you are most likely going to get Bibb/Boston lettuce leaves. The leaves of Bibb/Boston lettuce are pliable and are perfect for wraps and bunless burgers.

4. Endive
I love adding endive to salads or throwing it on the grill and dressing it with a simple vinaigrette. It's a robust lettuce that comes from the chicory family and is a popular staple of Italian cuisine.

5. Radicchio
Radicchio has that beautiful purple color that dresses up any salad. It is from the chicory family and has an almost peppery, bitter taste. Radicchio, like endive is delicious grilled. It is such a beautiful lettuce and is one of my favorites.

6. Arugula
This spicy Italian means "rocket" in Italian and imparts a delicious, peppery flavor. I love this lettuce on sandwiches and mixed in with other varieties for a salad dressed with a vinaigrette.

7. Mesclun

Mesclun is actually comprised of a variety of different young lettuce leaves. Traditionally it includes arugula, frisee, radicchio and other varieties of lettuce. It is hands-down my favorite dinner salad mix and can be found in most grocery stores washed and ready to eat.


Anonymous said...

Salad is a wonder of creation. I don't think any two people make it alike. It was fun to read your info on lettuce types. I thought it would be fun to mention that I have tasted iceberg lettuce stir fried with a bit of oyster sauce and a dash of soy and it is very sweet and surprisingly tasty. Have you tried this?

Love your blog,

Author said...

Thanks, Mom :) I'll have to try that...sounds interesting!