Toss It Up for Salads
Salads have moved from side dish to main stream. They can take center stage as the main dish or provide the perfect appetizer or accompaniment to any meal. Different leafs, add-ins and dressings can change both its looks and personality to provide a different dish every day.
Here are some tips on different types of leaf lettuces from our garden and how to best use them.
It’s best to keep harvested leafs refrigerated until use. Wash with cold water to remove and dirt. Depending on the recipe and your preference, you can use leaves, whole, torn or shredded.
Baby Leaf Spinach is one of the most popular salad leaves. It is soft and somewhat bland. Olive oil dressings go particularly well with this type of leaf and it is also popular for its use in warm salads. Cheese, egg, tomato and meat or crispy bacon makes very tasty additions.
Cos has a long leaf and a firm texture. It’s slightly nutty flavor makes it an excellent choice for Caesar salad with garlic, croutons, eggs and grated Parmesan cheese.
Curly Endive is also known as Frisee, this is a curly but bitter leaf that is a member of the chicory family. The colors can range anywhere from a light yellow to a greenish-yellow.
It is best used in salads with a slightly sweet dressing and or additions such as sugared pecans, that will help counteract the tartness of the leaf.
Lamb’s lettuce has small spoon-shaped leaves with a nutty taste. It is very good in mixed leaf salads and tastes particularly good with potatoes and beets. A honey Dijon or other type of mustard dressing is a good choice.
Radicchio has pinky, red leaves that add a beautiful shot of color to any dish. It is a member of the chicory family but is not as bitter as most other members. The leaves are also more chewy. It is good in mixed salads, especially oriental salads with ramen noodles, almonds and a soy-based dressing.
Red Mustard is an oriental leaf that can be red or green and has a mild mustard flavor. It is matched very well with seafood and steak.
Red Oak Leaf has a soft texture, a reddish color and deep indentations. It mixes well with stronger flavors and is excellent in a simple salad with French dressing.
Rocket has some zing to it with a peppery taste and jagged leaves. Its flavor is good with add-ins like Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, pine nuts and other Mediterranean foods. Use in salads or with hot pasta.
Ruby Chard is part of the spinach family with glossy leaves, red veins and stems and a strong taste. It is good with a creamy yogurt based dressing and mixed with other sweet peppery or bitter leaves.
Sweet Romaine has long thin leaves that work very well in mixed salads with creamy dressings.
Wild Organic Rocket leaves are smaller than standard rocket leaves and have a stronger, peppery taste. It is well matched with goat cheese but is also good with fish, meat or pasta.