Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Romaine Lettuce - Salad Basics

I love a salad.  I love it as a snack, a side, or a meal itself.  I like my greens to be crunchy, and occasionally mixed with a softer green such as baby spinach.  The greens also have to be cold.  I am really perturbed when I go to a restaurant and order a salad and it comes out in a bowl that feels like they just took it out of the dishwasher!  I've had sizzling fajita plates that didn't seem as hot as some of my salad bowls! 

  Well I like to use Romaine lettuce because it is readily available and it keeps crisp longer than some others.  I buy the bulk bags from Sam's Club in the summer time, but in the winter I usually buy smaller amounts at the grocery store.  So how do I get my greens cold and crunchy?  I wash and soak them in ice water after chopping!

We all have to wash the lettuce anyway, so ... what?  You DO WASH your lettuce right??  I mean come on, with all the e coli scares, and so forth?  You have to wash it.  Notice your lettuce probably doesn't have a lot of bug eaten leaves, therefore the farmer probably uses some sort of insecticide.  If you don't wash it - it's still there!  And what about the color of your lettuce?  Is it green?  Then more than likely it has received some fertilizer too, and yes, it's probably still there! 

Oh?  You buy only organic?  That's good.  Cow manure and compost are organic fertilizers too, so wash the lettuce really good please! (Compost is well... see the picture?) Since your going to wash it, you may as well give it an ice bath to get it cold and crisp too!

Source of Compost pile
 If you make salads, you need a salad spinner. Yes, you do.  Chop or tear the lettuce into the size that you prefer and put in the strainer.  Rinse the lettuce well under cold running water, then place in the spinner bowl.

Fill the bowl with cold water and swirl and swish the lettuce with your hand.  Kind of like the agitator on your washing machine. Then add ice cubes to the water - just enough to get the water really cold. (10 cubes or so)

Let the ice set on the lettuce for about thirty minutes, or until the ice is melted. 

Then remove the strainer from the bowl over the sink. Pour out the water, and return the strainer back to the bowl and SPIN AWAY. The little black button there is the brake.  Use it to stop the spinner.  Pour out the excess water and repeat one more time.

Then you have nice cold, crisp lettuce leaves ready for your basic salad.  If you are not ready to use then place entire bowl in the fridge.  When possible refrigerate your bowls or plates before serving as well.  (No, I don't always get to do that, but it really makes a difference - I just don't have a big enough fridge!)



  1. I've always modeled my salads after my dad's European one and he does his lettuce just like you do. :) He also uses a variety of greens for texture and flavor purposes. It's always the best tasting salad in the world.

  2. A little manure never hurt anybody, right? ....OK maybe my view is tainted by having grown up on a farm with plenty of "fertilizer" spraying from the tank behind our tractor. ;)

  3. LOL! I think we all have had POTTY mouth at some point in our lives...

  4. Love this post, and I love romaine lettuce!!

  5. I love a great salad and I love romaine. Great post!

  6. A salad spinner would be a good thing to get, I'm always waiting forever for my greens to dry - only bad thing about washing your greens. :)

  7. And romaine lettuce has so much more nutrional value than iceburg lettuce (which has some but not much)!! Kim McCracken


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