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Food

The Virtual Panier - Lettuce

Posted by Cat / June 27, 2007

20070627_two-lettuces.jpgLettuce. We've got lettuce. We've got heads and heads of lettuce. Thanks to my friendly CSA farm, I could even choose to nap on my very own bed of lettuce, I'm so inundated with the stuff these days. One of the earliest fresh local greens available to us Montrealers, some may view lettuce as something simply to be endured until the more exciting, substantial green veg come into our lives. But lettuce is more than just filler. Available in such an ethereal array of verdant hues, it deserves a starring role based on looks alone. Treated reverently, you may even be surprised to discover that these leaves have flavour, and complex flavours at that. I believe lettuce once made its way into a dessert on Iron Chef, but in the spirit of The Virtual Panier, we'll keep it simple.

20070627_lettucewraps.jpgSalads. An obvious starting point. But try experimenting with different lettuces - buttery Bibb or Boston, sweet Little Gem and Baby Star, or rich and velvety Oakleaf and Lolla Rossa varieties. In order to actualy taste the lettuce, try dressing one or a mix of fresh leaves with a simple lick of olive oil, a little salt and fresh ground pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. As the bounty of summer produce comes on stream, get creative with your salads, adding fresh herb leaves, berries and stone fruits, crumbled local cheeses, fresh corn, sweet peas, toasted nuts, and more! One of my favourite salads is a take on the BLT sandwich. Dress a wedge of lettuce with a creamy blue cheese dressing, a thick slice of tomato, and a couple of crisp strips of smoked bacon.

Even if your not some nutty Atkins convert, lettuce can be a refreshing bread replacement. Try using lettuce as a wrap. Fill large outer leaves with a chicken and mango salad, rice salad, or strips of vegetables dressed in a simple vinaigrette. Or use the leaves to cup a fruit salad and cottage cheese, or cubed tofu tossed with a ginger soy dressing, cucumber, and mint.

Some lettuces are not as fragile as you think That workhorse romaine can take whatever you can throw at it, either in the blender or even on the grill. Try cooling off with a refeshing lettuce soup. Blend 4 cups shredded romaine with 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves and a pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper and chill until cold (an hour or so). Serve in a chilled bowl or martini glass to truly convince yourself of lettuce's luxe status.

20070627_lettuce-leaves.jpgAnd when firing up the grill, throw on some quartered romaine hearts and slices of country bread, brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave over the fire just long enough to lay down some grill marks, then toss the lettuce with your favourite Caesar dressing, maybe a little extra lemon juice, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve with the grilled bread. Gain new respect for lettuce.

Discussion

9 Comments

Alexis / June 27, 2007 at 12:55 pm
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Thank you Cat! Thank you! About those romaine hearts, do they have to be ON the country breads? I don't get the link!
cat / June 27, 2007 at 03:25 pm
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Hi Alexis. The romaine wedges and the bread slices can both go directly (and seperately) on the grill. The lettuce will wilt a bit, but should get some nice grill marks. The bread can just be served alongside the salad, or cut up and tossed in with everything else! It's the "crouton" component. Glad you liked the recipes!
Chandani / February 5, 2015 at 02:31 am
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That seems a lot like the calendar here in WI. I'm getintg spring fever something fierce. I even bought seeds a few weeks ago even though we're get...
golu dolls / March 6, 2019 at 01:17 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 6, 2019 at 01:18 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 6, 2019 at 01:19 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 6, 2019 at 01:20 am
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nice post

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