the inspiration of the wedge salad
What iceberg lettuce does so effectively (one may say completely) is stability different elements—the spicy, the chewy, the gooey, the wealthy and drippy, the umami taste. Its refreshing, juicy crunch is completely welcome within the midst of a fried rooster sandwich or New Orleans po-boy; a aid in each chew of a spicy pastor taco, an important layer in a taco salad. The traditional Wedge Salad was first served as an accompaniment to massive scorching steaks in steakhouses of the Sixties for precisely this cause.
So why will we like to hate it a lot?
Iceberg wasn’t at all times on the underside of the lettuce heap. Actually, it and different crisp head lettuces have been the most well-liked varieties till the Nineteen Seventies, making up 95% of lettuces cultivated and consumed within the U.S. (Romaine, or cos, lettuce, is extra common within the Mediterranean, and solely just lately gained favor in different components of the world.)
Then packaged salad combine appeared, touted as having extra dietary worth than conventional iceberg. It rapidly grew to become the darling of the ever-fickle meals world. Leaf lettuces have been lurking too, however shoppers—at all times on the lookout for shortcuts—most popular the comfort of pre-washed, packaged merchandise.
Bagged blended salad greens, although, are a blended bag. (No pun supposed.) They’re washed in chlorinated water after which handled with a mix of gases referred to as “modified environment” to offer them an extended shelf life. You’ll should determine for your self whether or not that feels OK to eat.
Again to iceberg lettuce: does it have much less dietary worth than different lettuces? An excellent rule of thumb is the darker inexperienced the lettuce, the extra nutritional vitamins it has—as much as 20 instances extra, say meals scientists. So what about Romaine? If, like me, you like the white crunchy interior leaves of Romaine, the distinction could also be negligible. Darker leaf lettuces have extra vitamins (most notably vitamin Ok and vitamin A) and are at all times a wholesome alternative.
However the reality is, we’re not consuming iceberg lettuce for its nutritional vitamins; we’re consuming it for the juicy crunch it provides to a dish.
The trick is to search out actually recent and if attainable, domestically grown heads of iceberg lettuce. They are going to be candy and juicy, by no means bitter or bland. Look in your native marketsfarmers’ markets, and even specialty grocery shops. A few years in the past, once I lived in rural Pennsylvania, I grew iceberg lettuce. Flavorful, crunchy, and juicy, the distinction between my garden-grown heads and what was within the grocery shops was dramatic, the identical as a just-picked, vine-ripened tomato vs. a commercially grown one. Contemporary iceberg lettuce could have a number of layers of darkish inexperienced leaves surrounding the interior white core—all edible, all wholesome, and all scrumptious. Hold wanting till you discover one—they’re on the market someplace. You received’t be sorry.
Traditional iceberg wedge salad
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes, minimize in half
- 1 small shallot, peeled and diced (2 Tbsp.)
- 2 Tbsp. crimson wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly floor black pepper
- 2 thick slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
- 8 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Sprint Worcestershire sauce, to style
- 1 massive head iceberg lettuce, the outer leaves eliminated, minimize into 4 wedges
- 2 Tbsp. minced chives
Mix the tomatoes, shallots, and vinegar in a small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to style. Put aside.
To make dressing, put half the cheese right into a medium bowl; mash with a whisk. Add buttermilk, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mash and whisk till principally easy. Modify seasonings and put aside.
To assemble, place one wedge of lettuce on every plate. Gently spoon dressing over it. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, the dressed tomato halves, remaining blue cheese and minced chives.
Stir-fried iceberg lettuce with shrimp
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. peanut or different impartial oil
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. grated or minced recent ginger
- 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
- ½-¾ lb. medium shrimp, shelled, cleaned and deveined
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ cup chopped scallion, plus extra for garnish
Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and blend effectively. Put aside.
In a big, deep skillet over medium-high warmth, add 1 Tbsp. peanut oil, swirl it round and instantly add garlic and ginger. Cook dinner 15 seconds, stirring, then add scallion and lettuce. Increase warmth to excessive and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till lettuce barely softens, about 2 minutes, being cautious to not overcook or it’s going to get mushy. Switch to a plate and put aside.
Flip warmth right down to medium, add remaining tablespoon of oil, let it get scorching, then add shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase warmth to excessive and cook dinner, stirring, 2-3 minutes till shrimp flip white and are now not translucent.
Cut back warmth to medium, return lettuce to pan, and toss a few times. Stir cornstarch sauce and add to pan. Cook dinner rapidly till all the things is warmed via and sauce thickens. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve instantly.
Janet Blaser is the creator of the best-selling guide, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Ladies Expats, featured on CNBC and MarketWatch. She has lived in Mexico since 2006. You’ll find her on Fb.