- Think on new lines – try cooking
- More satisfying with seeds, bread, pasta
- Mix temperatures and textures
- Rapid heat – retains crunch
- Keep the ends for the wok
Yes, you can cook lettuce. As with most vegetables, the main tip is to think along new lines, think again and think differently when you’re dealing with lettuce. Grilling and frying, for example, brings out whole new dimensions in these juicy, green leaves. Fruits, seeds and nuts also take the flavor to new heights.
Think cooking. Grill, stir-fry, fry and mix with seeds and croutons. Mix textures and temperatures.
Spice up with seeds
A salad will be more satisfying and crisper with a pinch of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts or other seeds. If you toast the seeds first in a dry frying pan, you’ll improve the flavors even more. Warm seeds in a cool salad isn’t wrong either. With sea salt.
Croutons – use up your bread
You can easily make your own croutons. Fry cubes of yesterday’s bread in butter to make deliciously crunchy accompaniments to your salad – and they’re cheaper and better for the environment too. Vary with different types of bread, oils, butter and garlic, chili or herbs.
There’s more to salad than meets the eye
If you’re “just making a green salad”, give it a bit of extra love and it will lift the whole meal. Thinly sliced beans, radishes or kohlrabi and toasted nuts or seeds make a salad more filling and more interesting. Raw shavings of root vegetables such as carrots or beetroot are beautiful to look at and add bite. A small warm vegetable side dish is good too. Bake a few zucchini or mushroom with garlic and lemon to have alongside.
Yes you can cook lettuce
Professional chefs we’ve talked to think that we treat lettuce with too much respect. It just ends up in a bowl with oil and vinegar and… nothing else. Do more! Fry it, stir fry it, put it in soups and stews. Lettuce can be so much more.
Lettuce in soups and stews
Crispy types of lettuce such as iceberg and Chinese cabbage can work as replacements for pak choi in Asian cuisine, for example. In a hot soup or stew, add the lettuce last of all so it warms up without losing its crispiness.
Think of lettuce as a vegetable.
– Per Renhed, F12 and other restaurants
Just like cabbage, lettuce takes on much more character and a good smoky flavor if you give it a few minutes on the grill. Little gem lettuce hold together well if you slice the head lengthwise. Grill first, then drizzle dressing or just a good olive oil over the top.
Crisp leaves of spinach and mangold go well in salads and are a great contrast to the more common types of lettuce. Slightly older leaves can be sautéed with garlic and mixed with pasta or served as a side dish.
Don’t throw all of it out
If your head of lettuce has dodgy bits, remove them and use the rest. Often it’s only the outside part that’s wilted and the thicker bits inside will be fine. Use them in a wok or cut into small pieces in a salad.