Lettuce, It's Not Just For Salad Anymore
For most Americans, the mention of lettuce conjures images of crunchy, fresh salads, because that is our main point of reference. This is not the case in many other countries, however, where most varieties of lettuces are also served cooked. While soggy lettuce from an old, or overdressed salad is beyond dreary, lettuce that has been intentionally wilted is an entirely different experience.
We Americans love our cooked dark, leafy greens, such as kale, collards, chard and spinach, but for some reason, the idea of cooking paler greens such as endive, butter lettuce and green leaf lettuce has just never really caught on. Sure, we grill some romaine lettuce every now and again for a twist on a Caesar salad, but you can be hard pressed to find braised endive or sauteed lettuce and peas on many menus, which is a shame because something truly wonderful happens when lettuce, otherwise somewhat bland and watery, is cooked. Yes, you lose the texture and crunch that most of us associate with lettuce, but in return you get a sweet, mellow green, usually layered with subtle hints of bitterness.
A popular Easter-time Italian soup called lattuga ripiena, or stuffed lettuce, features lettuce leaves that are blanched until soft and then stuffed with a variety of fillings from meat, to cheese, to other vegetables. These are then rolled into tight little bundles and typically served atop a piece of toasted bread with hot beef broth ladled over the top. The result is similar to stuffed cabbage, but the flavor and texture of the lettuce is far more delicate.
For the French, eating cooked endive as part of a meal is as common as peas and carrots for us. Preparations range from the light and simple, such as braising them in chicken stock and lemon juice, to the truly decadent, such as endive gratin rich with cream and cheese. Both preparations are flavorful and delicious and provide a lovely sweet-bitter contrast to meats such as lamb or pork.
In Asian cultures it is not uncommon to see lettuce treated as any other green, quickly sauteed with aromatics such as garlic, ginger and sesame, or added to soups or vegetable dishes, while the British are notorious for braised lettuce with peas, a surprisingly delightful dish.
Next time you’re at a loss for a vegetable to serve for dinner, try your hand at cooking some lettuce. You’re not only sure to be pleasantly surprised, but you could also realize a whole variety of previously untapped vegetable ideas.
Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges
- Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
- Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
- Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
- Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
- Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
- Flexible Scheduling
- Financial Aid
- Transferable Credits
- Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
- Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
- Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
- Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
- Flexible Scheduling
- Financial Aid
- Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
- An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
- 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
- Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
- Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
- Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
- Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
- Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
- Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
- Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
- Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
- Ranked the 13th Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
- A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
- Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
- Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
- Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
- Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
- Offers programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality & restaurant management.
- Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
- 2 campus locations in Indianapolis, Indiana and Morrisville, North Carolina.
- Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
- Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
- Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
- Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
- Has student housing available.
- Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).