Q. I would like to incorporate different types of lettuce into my meal plan. What are some different types of lettuce, and in what dishes should I use them?
A. By far the most common variety of lettuce is iceberg, a head lettuce that is used in salads and sandwiches. Although it is often criticized by some for having little flavor and practically no nutritive value, iceberg continues to be the top seller in the lettuce category. Most supermarkets offer other more flavorful varieties:
- Boston (or butter) lettuce is a round, loosely packed head lettuce with soft green leaves. It is very sweet and tender.
- Bibb lettuce is related to Boston lettuce but is smaller, crisper, and more expensive.
- Leaf lettuce (red and green) is less sweet than Boston and Bibb. Its soft leaves with curly edges are ideal for sandwiches and make a good addition to salads. The red variety is more fragile than the green, but both can deteriorate quickly.
- Romaine lettuce has elongated heads with dark green outer leaves and lighter, more tender hearts. The leaves are very crisp and sturdy.
- Oak leaf lettuce, frisee, and chicory are less common salad greens. They are often included as components in baby-lettuce mixes.