Lettuce is more than Just for Salad
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Stir Fry Lettuce and Garlic
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 1⁄2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine or 1 teaspoon dry sherry
3⁄4 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon salad oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Wash and dry lettuce. Tear or cut into pieces a bit bigger than bite sized. Separate leaves and dicard core.
In a small bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
Place 14 inch wok or 12 inch frying pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add the salad oil and garlic. Stir fry until the garlic begins to take a little color.
Add lettuce and stir fry until slightly limp but still somewhat crisp.
Stir in the soy sauce mixture and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve at once.
Note: I plan to omit the sesame oil and the rice wine/dry sherry as I don't have these.
Think of lettuce like you would a strongly flavored herb, like basil, and turn it into a sauce! Take your favorite pesto recipe and sub half of the basil with lettuce. This is a great way to make pesto if you find that the basil flavor is usually too much for you — lettuce can add body and moisture without adding strong, intense flavors.
Spring rolls and wraps
Wraps and spring rolls just wouldn't be the same without some lettuce inside. While lettuce doesn't usually contribute a ton of flavor, it does add freshness, texture, and an appetizing color to wraps and rolls.
As lettuce wraps
Lettuce wraps are such a fun, interactive way to eat, especially when you're trying to avoid the carbs in more traditional wrappers, like lavash or bread. While lettuce wraps are usually associated with Asian fillings, try them with baked falafel, taco or fajita filling, or instead of a bun around your next burger.
Lettuce and soup? Trust me on this. Stir crisp shredded lettuce, like romaine or iceberg, into a bowl of soup. While it will wilt and soften, it will also retain a bit of refreshing crunch and add another layer of texture and sweet flavor to the soup. Arugula, spinach, or other darker, softer greens also add a nutritious punch. Lettuce in soup is an easy way to get another serving of greens in.
We all know that lettuce contains a lot of water, so take advantage of that and throw it into your next juice blend or smoothie. Just a few leaves into the blender, along with your favorite fruits and vegetables..
Can you freeze lettuce? Not if you want to make tossed salad with the thawed out product. But for cooking and flavoring uses, yes, you can freeze lettuce.
With lettuce, two things influence freeze-ability: lettuce type and provenance. Thicker-leafed lettuces handle freezing better than supermarket-style iceberg lettuce. Examples of freezer-friendly lettuces include romaine or Cos types and Boston or bib types, which are also known as Butterheads. You can also freeze lettuces that blend both romaine and butterhead traits, like ‘Little Gem’. For each of these lettuce types, you can find varieties that offer different leaf colors, from deep burgundy, to maroon speckles, to chartreuse, to rich green.
Wash the leaves in cool water and dry them thoroughly. Any moisture left on the leaves will degrade the texture of the lettuce significantly, possibly destroying them. Although not necessary, using a salad spinner will help remove water from the leaves.
Place the leaves in plastic freezer storage bags, making sure to squeeze out excess air, and seal the bags tightly. Do not overfill the bags. Write the name of the lettuce and the date on the bag with a permanent marker.
Lay the bags of lettuce leaves flat on the bottom of the freezer, or on top of other flat items. Don't put heavy items on top of the bags of lettuce, and do not fold or bunch up the bags. Use the frozen lettuce leaves within six months.
Only freeze one type of lettuce leaf per bag. Mixing varieties can affect the quality.
Thoroughly clean all produce before freezing.
To defrost your lettuce leaves, remove them from the bags and place them flat on a piece of paper towel or a dish towel at room temperature for about an hour. You can place a baking sheet under the towel to protect your work surface from moisture, if you wish.