What type of lettuce do you love? Do you have a favorite? For hundreds of years, lettuce in its many forms, textures and tastes has inspired cooks all over the world to try new and exciting uses. Here are just a few:
boston – One of the most popular of the butterhead lettuces. In addition to making great chilled salads, when separated, butterhead leaves make great plate liners you can eat.
iceberg – Easily recognized for its pale green sphere shape, this mild-flavored lettuce is a familiar garnish for sandwiches and can also serve as a wrap for just about anything. For a classic quick and easy salad, cut it into wedges and top with Thousand Island dressing.
romaine – The lettuce of choice for Caesar salad can also be grilled. Just spritz on a little extra virgin olive oil and grill until slightly soft for an excellent first course. For a refreshing summer salad, combine chopped romaine with chick peas, cucumber, tomato and feta cheese topped with a creamy garlic dressing.
spinach – One of the healthiest greens, spinach can be added to stuffing, lasagna, creamed dishes and soups. Try adding sauteed spinach to pasta, sprinkle with chèvre (goat cheese) and toasted pine nuts for a quick and satisfying meal.
baby arugula – The strong, peppery flavor of arugula adds zest to a gourmet BLT. Or, combine with olives, olive oil and red wine vinegar, fresh Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper for a simple side dish salad.
belgian endive – Endive can easily be braised or grilled. If serving hors d’oeuvres, separate the leaves and fill with an assortment of cheese spreads, fruit, cottage cheese, tuna or dips for an attractive presentation.
red and green leaf – With a mild taste and a nice crunch, red and green leaf lettuce packs a powerful nutritional punch and makes any salad instantly more colorful. In many cultures this lettuce is eaten cooked. Consider adding it to homemade chicken stock, stews or it can be stir-fried with a dash of soy sauce and sesame seeds.
spring mix greens – A combination of leaves which often includes arugula and baby spinach, spring mix greens make an attractive salad because of the variety of colors and textures. Simply drizzle with a vinaigrette and top with fresh berries for an extremely simple, quick and healthy meal.
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