Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leafy Seasons Greetings


The first of the season's lettuces will start appearing at farmer's markets in a couple of weeks. The tender, sweet baby leaves that many vendors carry are wonderful just drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

But there's also much more that can be done with a head of lettuce. I love the Asian tradition of using lettuce to wrap spicy grilled meats, for example. In China, lettuce is most often eaten cooked, which brings out a slightly bitter character in the leaves. Some French recipes call for wrapping fish fillets in lettuce and gently poaching them. Or how about a cream of lettuce soup subtly flavored with nutmeg?

According to wikipedia:
Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac food in Ancient Egypt, and appears as such in The Contendings of Horus and Seth. Later, Ancient Greek physicians believed lettuce could act as a sleep-inducing agent. The Romans cultivated it, and it eventually made its way to France cultivated of the Papal Court at Avignon. Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the new world.
Just some 'food for thought' as you browse the markets in the coming weeks. If you have other brilliant uses for lettuce, please let me know!

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