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.
Featured Culinary Schools
- 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
- Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
- Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
- Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
- Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
- Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
- Flexible Scheduling
- Financial Aid
- Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
- Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
- Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
- Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
- Online Courses