Tasty ways to enjoy iceberg lettuce
Iceberg lettuce isn’t usually seen as an inspiring ingredient and it tends to lobbed into the supermarket trolley without much thought. In this blog Samantha Wells shares some favourite recipes to help elevate this undervalued ingredient.
The name iceberg comes from the way they used to be transported. Before refrigerated vehicles were invented, lettuce were packed in ice while in transit.
I love iceberg lettuce and despite usually being sold wrapped in plastic it is much better than the bags of mixed leaves because it stores for longer. Usually sliced to add a cheeky cool crunch to a burger or chopped roughly into a salad, this pale green beauty is a neglected and under-loved ingredient, which can be enjoyed in lots of dishes.
An American starter uses iceberg (sometimes also known as crisphead) lettuce as the star ingredient. Huge hunks are combined with a creamy and unctuous garlicky ranch dressing. Served as is, or with generous dollops of blue cheese, crispy bacon pieces or toasted walnuts (sometimes all three!), this dish elevates the lettuce into the main event.
Cut an iceberg into quarters. Place in the middle of your starter plates.
In a mixing bowl, add in 120ml mayonnaise, 120ml yoghurt and a drizzle of rapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add in 1tsp dried garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder, tablespoon finely diced fresh chives and fresh flat leaf parsley (can also use dried herbs for a true storecupboard saviour).
Taste and add in a squeeze of lemon juice. If using blue cheese crumble directly into this ranch dressing. Generously dollop over the lettuce quarters and if you use it sprinkle over toasted walnuts and crispy bacon pieces.
Another handy way of using up half an iceberg is to cook it! Griddled or braised, this is a lovely side dish to rustle up with a few pantry and freezer standbys.
Heat up a griddle pan. Simply cut the lettuce into quarters, drizzle with oil and season well. Place onto the griddle pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, turning when charred. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. In a small bowl, add two tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil, 1tsp Dijon mustard and 1tb spoon of cider vinegar (or lemon juice). Mix well and drizzle over the charred lettuce.
This is a quick side dish, good warm or cold.
Finely slice ½ -1 iceberg lettuce. Finely dice 1-2 garlic cloves. In a medium frying pan, melt a drizzle of oil and leave to warm. Add in the lettuce and cook for a couple of minutes before adding in the garlic. Season with salt and pepper then add in enough veggie or chicken stock to just cover the lettuce. Simmer for five minutes before adding in a large handful of frozen peas. Leave to cook for a couple of minutes until the peas are cooked and squeeze over half a lemon. Taste and adjust to suit.
You can learn to cook more seasonal recipes by coming to a cooking class at the Lang Spoon Community Kitchen.|