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Salads are just the tip of the iceberg


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article from the Times UK

I haven’t heard anyone malign iceberg lettuce for years. I think, in fact, that it is very much admired, for its crisp crunch, its cool, fresh taste, and its versatility. Good grief, it even has a website — www.iceberg-lettuce.co.uk — courtesy of the British Iceberg Growers Association.

So popular is it that it even transcends its natural association with summer and salads, and turns up in a number of recipes ...

I see it in steakhouses, cut in huge wedges, topped with chopped tomatoes, thick masses of bleu cheese dressing ... and in oriental places wrapping a variety of great fillings ...

Do you use iceberg? I love it for its pristine, clean qualities ...

How do you use it?

Is it ever going to make a huge comeback and replace $50 a pound "field greens"??

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Mostly I see it being used in sandwiches, burgers and diner-style side salads. What kind of comeback are you planning?

I like the crunch but it has no taste. If I do use it in salads, at the least I'll mix it with romaine, baby spinach or some other green. And the whole salad wedge thing is just plain wrong...

Devin

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I have to confess that I love iceberg lettuce. We have a recipe from an old farmer friend. He would thinly shred iceberg lettuce, sprinkle it with a rich apple cider vinegar (that he made) and a little sugar. It was sublime.

Shredded iceberg is also the just right crunch for tacos and such... not to mention the right texture for a good hamburger.

Long live iceberg!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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A friend who started growing the mini-greens about 16 years ago refers to Iceberg as the polyester of lettuces. When we went to a salad bar one time on a road trip, guess what he ate? You got it, he missed the crunch. As he said, Iceberg is just an excuse for eating Ranch dressing.

From Dixon, Wyoming

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I haven’t heard anyone malign iceberg lettuce for years. . . .

Do you use iceberg? I love it for its pristine, clean qualities ...

How do you use it?

Is it ever going to make a huge comeback and replace $50 a pound "field greens"??

Comeback? It went away?

After a long week the wife and I like to cut an iceberg in half, slather half a bottle of Thousand Island all over (Lighthouse brand is a superior product), open a case of beer and turn out the lights.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Comeback? It went away?

After a long week the wife and I like to cut an iceberg in half, slather half a bottle of Thousand Island all over (Lighthouse brand is a superior product), open a case of beer and turn out the lights.

Oh wow! I remember crunching into quarters of iceberg with blue cheese dressing on a beach in a shameful disarray. No. No more details.

Who knew that icegerg lettuce had such a "shameful" rep. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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i enjoy iceburg lettuce cut into a wedge and slathered in ice cold blue cheese dressing and some chopped tomatoes, then covered in liberal amounts of fresh cracked black pepper. That, and in tacos. Other than that, it is Romaine all the way.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I think iceberg is good for making lettuce wraps. And although I'm not into the low-carb thing by any means, I don't usually want a bun with a veggie burger, which has a fair amount of carbohydrate already, so I'll put it between pieces of lettuce.

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I think iceberg is good for making lettuce wraps. And although I'm not into the low-carb thing by any means, I don't usually want a bun with a veggie burger, which has a fair amount of carbohydrate already, so I'll put it between pieces of lettuce.

Interesting. I've noticed a lot of people eating their burgers sans bun, or sometimes they leave the sandwich open-faced and eat it with a fork and knife, just eating the bottom half of the bun. Some other restaurant folks have suspected that these people were doing it for a low-carb diet, but I'd always point out that many of them were ordering french fries, so that couldn't be the case.

I find iceberg generally tasteless, but a wedge salad can be a decadent splurge once in a while. It's something I generally associate with steakhouses, so I don't feel like eating one at any other time.

Other people apparantly don't have such a strong association for this item. When I worked in a fine dining Italian place, I'd sometimes ask if people wanted to add a salad to their meal, and many times people would blithely say, "I'll just have a wedge." The snotty part of me always just wanted to point down to the salad section of the menu and say, "Well, if there were a wedge listed here, I'd certainly be glad to get you one, but since we haven't a scrap of iceberg in the house, I guess you'll just have to choose between the salads we actually serve."

The key to proper restaurant behavior is sometimes as simple as RTFM. :blink:

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We've always called this stuff "crunchy water" but then the crunch seems to be the point.

The wedge with blue cheese and tomatoes, to me, is an exercise in two tastes and one texture. So for people who need a reliable crunch with things, iceberg is it. Do you suppose it's called iceberg because the crunch is similar to what you get with crushed ice? Just better for your teeth.

Early morning ramblings...

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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I once remember hearing someone say on NPR that even French cooks liked the fact that iceberg was always so "clean" ... easier to work with and if one needs to sacrifice a bit of (or a lot of) taste, c'est la vie ....

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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"Other people apparantly don't have such a strong association for this item. When I worked in a fine dining Italian place, I'd sometimes ask if people wanted to add a salad to their meal, and many times people would blithely say, "I'll just have a wedge.""

Those people deserve to be given a wedgie.

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I think iceberg lettuce was the first thing to go when I started making an effort to eat better........it's got no vitamins, no minerals, and no fiber.

But it *is* good in BLTs and tacos!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Far too often iceberg lettuce is tasteless and less than satisfying. However, when it is sweet and crunchy, as it should be, there is nothing better in a sandwich or in a salad.

I am fortunate in that the local produce market selects their products carefully (by taste) and I rarely get a head of iceberg that does not have that sweet flavor and it is usually much less expensive than in the supermarkets.

When choosing a head of iceberg, I go by the scent which should give you an idea of the taste. When it is right, there is a distinctive scent which is unmistakable, just as a very sweet celery will have a scent that once you get it you know it and can pick the best every time.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Actually they braise quite well, on their on with a good stock or brown sauce or the leaves used to wrap round a parcel of forcemeat, duxelle etc.

Since you are adding the flavour from the sauce or filling it doesn't matter that the lettuce is just a carrier.

Also good cooked with peas and onions

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Also good cooked with peas and onions

That sounds good, jackal! And do check out the website for the British Iceberg Lettuce Growers .. although I imagine that American iceberg will also do just as nicely:

Iceberg lettuce UK :wink: click on recipes for some good looking soups made with this treat ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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It makes a good textural accent, I guess...should we dub it the "green feuilletine"? Personally I'd just as soon shred up the ribs and hearts of my romaine for that purpose, but to each his own.

Growing up I was never keen on lettuce, but at that time in Nova Scotia iceberg was the only variety known to man (or Mom). It was an amazing revelation to me that there were actually a great many kinds of lettuces, in various textures and colours and (most shocking of all) flavours. I'd always thought of the lettuce as sharing moisturizer duties with the mayo, nothing more.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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It all sounds good to me. Iceberg lettuce, baco bits and Catalina dressing is one of my favorite cominations. I also like to mix it with other lettuce for crunch as well as a little height. I hate flat salads.

Melissa

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it doesnt matter what i put it on or in...i genrally find myself eating it all by itself as i do so..i like the crispy crunch and thanks to whomever it was that mentione d it for tacos...love them...have not had them for a while...way past time for them...perhaps for lunch tomorrow ...lol

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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