Lettuces are not all the same. While an iceberg offers a juicy addition when shredded and added to a roll or burger and makes a beautiful low carb wrap, nothing beats a cos for a salad with structure. Or perhaps you’re wanting colour and texture for your dish, in that case mesculn is perfect.
A young tender leaf salad mix, changes seasonally throughout the year depending on availability. It can be comprised of baby spinach, mizuna, red chard, mustards, tatsoi, Lollo Rosso and Lollo Biondi to name a few. Use mesclun in simple salads to allow the different flavours of the leaves to shine through.
Lollo Biondi and Rosso
Lollo Biondi (pale green) and Lollo Rosso (red) are types of fancy lettuce with tight curly leaves. They provide volume to salads and are a visually appealing option in wraps, sandwiches or burgers.
Red and Green Oak
Are a type of leafy butter lettuce known for their buttery texture rather than crisp leaves. Use in leafy salads with sharp vinaigrettes and crunchy additions.
Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard, is a vibrant salad green with feathery leaves. It has a peppery taste, with the young leaves being milder and the older leaves being slightly bitter. Although typically used fresh, mizuna can be sautéed or blanched.
Crunchita lettuce has the elongated leaves of a cos and the crisp texture of an iceberg lettuce. It has mildly sweet leaves which can be used as lettuce cups, in fresh salads or in burgers and sandwiches.
The round shape of the green butterhead lettuce has leaves that resemble petals. It has a higher iron content than other lettuces and has a mild sweet flavour. The leaves can be used as a tortilla replacement, in salads or sandwiches.
What was once the only lettuce choice and fell out of favour for a few years has had a well deserved resurgence. Whether you enjoy the retro connotations or simply appreciate its unparalleled juicy crunch, the iceberg lettuce has a lot to offer..
As the name suggests, this leafy green is an aquatic flowering plant from the cabbage family. One of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans, watercress is often found growing on the banks of streams
and rivers. Conveniently, watercress is grown hydroponically in New Zealand so no need to spend your days off foraging!
With the crunch and juiciness of an iceberg but with a leafier green appearance, cos (also known as romaine) is an infinitely versatile lettuce. The firmer more compact version, baby cos also has lighter leaves. Cos can stand a little heat, and the baby version is prefect for grilling. The sturdy inside leaves make for an ideal edible vessel for one mouthful.
Roquette, also known as rocket, or arugula, is a peppery leaf belongingto thecabbage and mustard family. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and there is even an alcohol made from its leaves called ‘Rucolino’. Native to the Mediterranean, it is popular in many parts of Europe and all over the world due its versatility.
The word witloof is Dutch for white leaf. These small, cylindrical heads of lettuce with tightly packed pale leaves are also known as Belgium endive and chicory. Witloof is grown just beneath the soil in dark rooms, which stops chlorophyll from developing and keeps the leaves white.
A red-leafed variety of witloof. It adds an interesting colour and taste to winter and spring salads. Note, it does not keep its brilliant colour when cooked but turns a vaguely blue-ish grey, purple so is best when used in salads, added to crudité platters, or used as the base for canapes.
Curly Endive (Frisée)
Unlike Belgian endive, with its tightly closed heads, curly endive, also known as frisée (pronounced, friz-aye), looks a bit like an untended lion’s mane. Most commonly used in fresh salads, it is tasty when quickly sautéed and drizzled with a bit of strong vinegar, such as sherry or balsamic.
Looks much like a large, sturdy head of buttercrunch lettuce. It has a similar crunch, too but a much more assertive flavour you would expect from the chicory/ endive family. Escarole is great torn into bite-size pieces for a salad and stands up well to bold dressings. Whether in salads or cooked, escarole pairs particularly well with egg. Also, try it grilled or broiled for a powerful accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats.
Chioggia radicchio looks like a small cabbage with a magnificent magenta shot leaf. It has a slightly astringent flavour that breathes life into salads.