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The maligned iceberg lettuce

I feel bad for iceberg lettuce. It gets such bad press! A lot of people suggest that it's watery, flavourless and pointless.

Personally, I love it! It's a perfect salad leaf, in that it's crunchy and robust enough to hold a decent dressing and soft enough to nestle down into the salad bowl properly. The little folds and wrinkles hold delicious pockets of dressing, a whole leaf can make a fresh and crispy wrap, a wedge makes a salad with a geometric fashion statement...not to mention the fact that it keeps for a long time in the fridge. And it has a cool name. What's not to like?!

My fave applications are thinly slivered as a chilled side to a bowl of chili, and diced into inch-thick chunks for a mustardy croutonny salad. Who else out there is a devoted fan of the iceberg? And if so, what do you love to do with it most?

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  1. I don't like it in salads at all (save for the wedge kind with blue cheese dressing), but it's fantastic stir-fried with oyster sauce.

    3 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      I LOVE the sound of that!! with garlic or without?

      1. re: Elster

        As you wish. I'd add some garlic, as I do with most stir-frys. Maybe a tiny squeeze of lime at the end, but not necessary. Iceberg stir-fries really well!

        1. re: Elster

          Casual Chinese places quickly blanch iceberg lettuce and drizzle oyster sauce on top. It's a great way of using up iceberg lettuce that's otherwise past its prime and would be unfit for salad.

          You can also saute in the oyster sauce directly. No garlic necessary.

      2. Iceberg and homemade Roquefort dressing were made for each other. It's also my favorite lettuce to put on a sandwich. My mother's dinner salad was always chopped iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, and diced cucumbers, with Hellman's mayo for dressing, and lots of black pepper.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          I'll use different greens for sandwiches but for a BLT or BLAT, iceberg is a must-have.

        2. Can be subbed in recipes for cooked or wilted spinach.

          Shredded iceburg is a requirement for me when I make a Juicy Lucy or dressed hamburger. 1/3 lb each such as I had last night.:-)

          1. I like lettuce wraps. I like it on burgers too.

            1. While it's not my favorite salad lettuce, except for the oft mentioned wedge w Roquefort dressing - my version being w Gorgonzolla - it does have it's place on the table. It's awfully good shredded and used in tacos, braised lettuce & peas, and stir-fries...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gio

                I have never made braised lettuce & peas, but now I want to.

                Thumbs up to Gio and Khan for the nod to tacos...iceberg is *it* for tacos.

                Sorta unrelatedly, it's the least "scary" green to use when introducing young kids to salad. It's a nice, cool, crispy and neutral canvas.