Lettuce - How to Cook - Prepare

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Lettuce is an integral part of any kitchen garden; with so many varieties to choose from they offer us a simple yet delicious addition to any meal.

There is so much more to a leaf salad than some shredded Iceberg doused in salad cream or bottled vinaigrette. With so many varieties available it is important to identify the type of salad you want to make.
Lettuces are not all the same; some are robust and crunchy and will; therefore stand up to stronger flavours and cooking, whilst others require no more than the scantest drop of quality oil and vinegar. Heartier lettuce is used in a number of hot savoury preparations much favoured by the French and Asians in particular.

A simple dish of braised peas with bacon and onion is finished with shredded cos lettuce whilst the Chinese serve lettuce as a side dish with soy and sesame. The addition of fresh herbs can bring a leaf salad to life; try rocket, basil, tarragon, chervil, chives or coriander. When dressing salad leaves always use the dressing sparsely, more can be added as required but too much and the leaves wilt under the weight of the oil and vinegar.

Always try to use good quality ingredients for your dressings, pay a bit more for extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegar and you will reap the benefit, a little goes a long way.
Experiment with dressings; a drop of honey or citrus with some chopped herbs in a vinaigrette, crème fraiche instead of mayonnaise, fish sauce and lime juice in place of oil and vinegar, the variations are endless.

Basic Vinaigrettes
Asian Dressings
Hot Dishes

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