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Lettuce, do you cut or tear?

In the beginning.....I would only tear, heard that was the only proper way, now, being busy and making a salad nearly everday, I cut. How about you?

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  1. I tear lettuce, mostly just for the aesthetic appeal of the difference shapes and sizes.

    1. depends what i'm making. if i want a more rustic or homey look, definitely tear. but if i'm doing a chopped salad, well, then, obviously i chop it ;)

      1. I think it depends on the type of lettuce. Some (like Iceberg) seem to lend themselves to cutting, others (like Cos) seem better torn.

        1. Usually just tear it up. I think I have a plastic 'lettuce knife' floating around but it's never there when I want it. I will shred it with a knife for certain things though.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Boccone Dolce

            I have one of those plastic lettuce knives. The reason I bought it was the claim that the lettuce wouldn't quickly turn brown where it was cut. And surprise, surprise it works.

            1. re: mexivilla

              yep, i have a lettuce knife made of plastic. i like it!

              i'll cut or tear, depending on what i'm into at the moment. i hate it when restaurants make caesar with huge long pieces of romaine, unless they're super crisp.

              1. re: alkapal

                The only time I like whole leaves of Romaine is if its grilled...I love a good ceasar salad made with grilled romaine...actually I like any kind of salad with some good grilled romaine-made a good one a few weeks back with all grilled veggies though I did cut my lettuce before tossing the salad :-)

                1. re: fmcoxe6188

                  yes, a former chowhound told us about her delicious grilled caesar salad, too. it is a terrific idea! one feels quite virtuous eating it. ;-).

                2. re: alkapal

                  Accordeing to Julia Child, the authentic version of Caesar salad has whole Romaine leaves, which are supposed to be picked up and held in the hand.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    maybe so, but the romaine shouldn't be a stinkin' foot long! it should be the delicate, inner leaves that are 5-6" at most. most restos just lazily chop the coarse outer leaves into oversized pieces. ;-(.

            2. About the only time I can think of that I cut lettuce is iceberg for a chiffonade for tacos. Ooops! And I do cut romaine in about inch and a half pieces for Caesar salad. Yes, yes. I know. The original Caesar was made with whole romaine blades, but I prefer eating salad with a fork. Other than these two examples, I tear lettuce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Caroline1

                i hate caesar salad with whole leaves too. iceberg i use a knife, everything else i generally tear.

              2. I tear...only (I know, I know...I'm so boring).

                  1. I used to tear, period, but I've found that I prefer romaine cut into chiffonade. I like to make a salad with that, thin slices of Belgian endive, and then some torn greens like mache or frisée.

                    1. I cut Romaine, and in the rare instance I use iceberg, I cut that too. Everything else I tear.

                      1. I remember an old TV demo of salad making by Vincent Price (who would probably be called a Chowhound today), and he stressed "always tear".

                        For an alternate opinion, see:

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: DonShirer

                          I've heard other chefs always advise to tear, not saying the "cut" crowd is wrong, mind you...but the tearing is good therapy for me, too...as is most chopping, I will admit. Just feels wrong to cut romaine lettuce to me or any other lovely dark leaf lettuce.

                          1. re: Val

                            Cutting hastens the leaves turning brown. If its all going to be eaten in one sitting then no worries. But if you want it to hold for a day or two, I would advise to tear.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              That's right, in the biz and you know how much your going to move in a day, you cut. (or buy the bagged stuff). At home, tear.

                          2. re: DonShirer

                            I too remember Vincent Price telling Johnny Carson that very emphatically on The Tonight Show. Ever since then I have only torn lettuce, and many times wondered whether this was just a silly dictum.

                          3. I cut, tear and use scissors.....depending on which type of lettuce I am using and for what recipe....as in shredded for sandwiches, or cut or pulled apart for salads. Scissors work great on Romaine Heads.

                            1. I only cut when I am making a chiffonade of lettuce. I am very picky about lettuce. I don't like any bit of brown or any of the really thick ribs or stems, so I find tearing is the easiest way to pick through it.

                              But in the end I don't think most of us hold cut/torn lettuce long enough for it to make any difference.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sooeygun

                                i'm with you on the "picky" part. there's something about even tiny bits of lettuce that are that "dark green heading-toward-goo" that will send me a-runnin'!

                              2. Either/or, depending on my mood, with tearing being the predominant mindset. Oddly enough, when it comes to Romaine, I almost always cut.

                                1. For salads, or to slap a piece on a sandwich, I tear. For a garnish, as on a tostada or taco, I cut strips. More pleasing on the garnish tray, and works better on the food.

                                  1. When I am in a rush, I buy a bag.

                                    1. I'm not sure how you would properly cut, say, butterhead, lollo rosso or oakleaf type lettuce. These just have to be torn I reckon.

                                      1. I usually tear most lettuce if I'm preparing food for guests. Sometimes, just for me I cut romaine if I'm eating it all now. Or iceberg only if serving a wedge.

                                        I totally second the grilled caesar! If you haven't tried it, you must! Of course, then cut the head in half lenthwise with a knife.

                                        1. I like the red leaf lettuce and I usually tear it .