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Mike Filigenzi

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In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:56 pm

I found this to be an entertaining article. Anyone particularly love or hate the stuff?

Iceberg is great!
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Rahsaan

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Rahsaan » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:16 pm

I heard the piece on NPR. I don't really like it and see no need to eat it. But some of the comments they played from people who attacked it as 'worthless' and 'low class' seemed way over the top. Many more offensive food products out there!
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Peter May

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Peter May » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:30 pm

I love it.

Gone out of fashion in restaurants here which now serve leaves with long stalks that get caught between teeth, are difficult to put in mouth without something sticking out and which are limp.

Give me Iceberg, crisp, crunchy and refreshing!

I'm making a side salad for tonight's dinner which will be a lot of chopped iceberg, chunks of cucumber from garden, whatever small tomatoes in garden that are ripe, (which will include Sungold and Tumbler and maybe Gardeners Delight), some sliced radish, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.
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Jenise

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jenise » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:25 pm

So guess what? I love iceberg lettuce! And I think most people don't know how to buy or prep it. I only buy it when the heads are super fresh: smaller, with darker outer leaves, and lightweight. These will be the sweetest, crispest and most flavorful heads. Especially in early Spring--Feb thru May are the best months for it. Pale outer leaves are typically the heads of midsummer and they'll be fairly bland and tasteless. Densely packed heads might be bitter: think about it, the plant has one stem to send all it's nutrients and flavor into the head, and the more leaves among which that has to be divided reduce the potential for flavor in each one.

And then: prep. Cut the head in half and then tear the halves into salad size clumps. Put them in a salad spinner and fill with water and ice. Yes, ice. Leave for at least an hour, then drain and spin dry. This step replaces the moisture lost during the chain of custody since it was picked and gives you what nature actually intended. I've served salads with iceberg thus treated and had guests, who otherwise denigrated iceberg, amazed.

And then: the dressing. Dressings are not created equal and all do not go equally well with all lettuces. Much as I love olive oil, for instance, I don't think it tastes good on iceberg. And balsamic vinegar? Perish the thought! Save that for your romaine.
And much as I love red wine vinegar, it's not for iceberg. White vinegar or apple cider only, please.

Favorite iceberg salads?

Canola oil, vinegar, salt and crushed garlic with lots of parsley OR cilantro+avocado
Canola oil or oil drained from canned tuna, vinegar and salt only, topped with a scoop of tuna salad
Garden salad: tomato, celery, and green onion are the essentials but cucumber, radishes and bell pepper are also nice additions; dress it with canola oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and two pinches of sugar (don't skip! this is essential!)--mix this concoction and let it sit for 6 or 7 minutes to meld flavors before serving.
Guacamole salad: just iceberg minimally tossed with a dressing made from fork-crushed avocado, a heaping tsp of mayo, vinegar, canola oil, salt, pepper and crushed/dried Mexican oregano.

I could go on....
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Robin Garr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:27 pm

I guess I'm sort of in-between, Mike. I don't hate iceberg, and I do like the characteristics that others have mentioned: Cool, crisp, easy to eat. Honestly, we're more likely to buy romaine (once the scare was over :shock: ) or the wild variety that you'll find in farmer's markets.

But I love an old fashioned wedge, though - bring on the blue cheese! - and also those Japanese steakhouse salads with the gingery-orange dressing. Or Vietnamese/Thai lettuce wrap dishes. So yeah, it has its place. We don't always have it in the house, but I'm not a hater.
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Jenise

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jenise » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:50 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I guess I'm sort of in-between, Mike. I don't hate iceberg, and I do like the characteristics that others have mentioned: Cool, crisp, easy to eat. Honestly, we're more likely to buy romaine (once the scare was over :shock: ) or the wild variety that you'll find in farmer's markets.

But I love an old fashioned wedge, though - bring on the blue cheese! - and also those Japanese steakhouse salads with the gingery-orange dressing. Or Vietnamese/Thai lettuce wrap dishes. So yeah, it has its place. We don't always have it in the house, but I'm not a hater.


If I had to limit myself to just one lettuce? Romaine. I also love Little Gems, though we don't get them in stores up here.

Know what I'm sick of and almost never buy? Mesclun mix. It was so enticing when it was new, but misuse in restaurants (badly trimmed, rusted ends etc) has ruined me. And the way it lays flat and lacks any crunch whatsoever. Mixed with something else for texture, okay, but alone it's a no go for me.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:27 pm

Agreed - totally tired of limp green and red leaves pretending to be salad.
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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jenise » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:50 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:Agreed - totally tired of limp green and red leaves pretending to be salad.


THANK YOU! And yes limp--the second they're hit with dressing. There are a lot of elements to the usual mix that do work for me, like Mizuna, and our local Coops do a good job of making a fresher version, but in general these factory washed and packaged mixes are just plain dull.
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Robin Garr

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Robin Garr » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:48 pm

Jenise wrote:
Jeff Grossman wrote:... factory washed ...

I think it was in this forum, years ago, that someone - maybe Jenise? - pointed out that "washed" may not mean what we think it means. Try putting a bag in a large clear bowl. Fill it with water. Lift out the lettuce. Look at the sludge at the bottom of the bowl that escaped the washing process. :P
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Jenise

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jenise » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:52 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Jeff Grossman wrote:... factory washed ...

I think it was in this forum, years ago, that someone - maybe Jenise? - pointed out that "washed" may not mean what we think it means. Try putting a bag in a large clear bowl. Fill it with water. Lift out the lettuce. Look at the sludge at the bottom of the bowl that escaped the washing process. :P


Yes, I remember making that point--wash your lettuce!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:02 pm

And yet... I wash store-bought spinach every week -- it is part of the weekly sesame-crusted pan-sauteed salmon ritual demanded by HWMBO -- and it is invariably whistle-clean. It is only the farmstand-type bunches that require cleaning.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: In defense of iceberg lettuce

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:25 am

I also fit into the "somewhere in between" category. I love the crunch that iceberg brings to a salad, sandwich, or (especially) a burger, but I tend to prefer romaine for the crunch its flavor. And yeah, limp greens in a salad are usually pretty yucky.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

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