Am I the only one who gets a bit confused by all of the choices available to us with regard to lettuce? While some lettuce leaves look like what my husband fondly refers to as “what I try to kill in our yard,” they all have their place on our plate.
However, it has helped me to know a little more about their distinct flavors, and to realize that not all lettuce is alike; in fact, some aren’t even green!
Red-tip Leaf Lettuce
Red-tip leaf lettuce has a tender, sweet, delicate flavor that makes it versatile for many types of green salads.
Leaf lettuce has a mild, delicate flavor and may be used interchangeably with red-tip leaf lettuce.
Radicchio is bitter and peppery-tasting when eaten alone, but small amounts add a nice accent to other greens.
Spinach has a mildly hearty flavor and is often used raw in salads.
Swiss chard has large stems with a delicate flavor similar to celery; leaves have a hearty spinach-like flavor.
Romaine has large, crisp leaves and a slightly sharp flavor that make this the classic lettuce for Caesar salad.
Curly endive has a mildly bitter flavor and adds visual interest to salads.
Arugula has a peppery, pungent flavor that is an ideal contrast when mixed with milder greens.