The most popular variety of lettuce. Although less flavorful and less nutritious as the other varieties, it costs less, is easier to shred, and keeps longer than other varieties.
A popular myth suggests that eating iceberg lettuce has all the nutritional value of eating cardboard. This, like most myths, is false. While Romaine, kale and other greens used in salads have in some cases, more nutrients, Iceberg is the lowest in calories and has comparable nutrient values. It remains one of the most popular salad greens, often being served as a wedge (1/4 head) with dressing in the best restaurants. It contains more water than romaine, making it a good digestive aid.
There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce grown with differing harvest times. The term head lettuce describes those varieties on which the leaves grow in a dense rosette. Leaf lettuce describes the varieties with leaves that branch from a single stalk in a loose bunch rather than forming a tight head. The leaves are crisper and more full-flavored than those of the Head Lettuce varieties.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Look for crisp leaves and no blemishes.
How to store: Remove outer leaves and discard. Wash thoroughly, pat dry and refrigerate with a damp paper towel in a plastic bag for 3-5 days. This crisping process is essential before serving, as lettuce loses moisture in transit. Do not allow lettuce to soak, as the water tends to soften some leaves.
How to prepare: raw
Matches well with: anchovies, avocados, cheese, cold cuts, egg yolks, garlic, hard-cooked eggs, lemon, mayonnaise, mustard, oil, onions, pepper, vinaigrette, vinegar