If you think lettuce is just lettuce – think again! Before you start sowing and planting your salad leaves this year, give some thought about how you’d like to use it in your dishes once you have grown it.
What a gem it is – small and sweet! It is the perfect size if you’re serving up a salad for one. You can use the leaves whole or cut the head into quarters.
A flavoursome, long-headed lettuce with crisp, green, narrow leaves. Perfect for a classic Caesar salad with shavings of parmesan and croutons.
These are fast growing, colourful varieties – they look great in the salad bowl or as a garnish. What I like about them is they are ‘cut and come again’ varieties, so you can pick them by the leaf, rather than as a whole head, and they will keep on growing.
Years ago, I always used Iceberg lettuce as a crunchy base for prawn cocktails – the height of sophistication for a dinner party starter! It is a crunchy, crisp head lettuce, that can be cut into chunks, shredded, or the larger curved leaves used whole as a dish, or a wrap, for an attractive and healthy presentation. It keeps well in the fridge and can be eaten a bit at a time.
When you pick your home-grown lettuce, wash your lettuce leaves in cold water, carefully checking for insects! Pat them dry with kitchen paper or use a salad spinner to dry them.
Try not to use a knife on your leaves as this can bruise them. Instead break or tear them into bite-sized pieces ready for use in your salad or sandwich.