Friday, August 10, 2018
There are many categories of salad snob -- the ingredient minimalists, the chop evangelists, the dressing-goes-in-the-bowl-first brigade -- but perhaps the most vocal, and the most misguided, are those dedicated to the denigration of iceberg lettuce. To its detractors, iceberg is the avatar of commodity gastronomy -- "the polyester of lettuces" is a popular gibe. The influential Times food editor Craig Claiborne famously loathed it. "It is omnipresent," Alice Waters, goddess of the farmer's market, sniffed in a 2001 interview. "It doesn't have a season," she said. "It doesn't have a sense of place."
The only thing iceberg really has going for it is durability, this line of thinking goes -- it's a lettuce for growers, shippers, warehousers, and sellers, not a lettuce for eaters. But, like its glacial namesake, iceberg lettuce has a lot more going on beneath the surface. For starters, it's far from flavorless: focus your palate as you take a bite and notice a clean sweetness blooming beneath the watery crunch, deepening, in the pale ruffle of the inner leaves and stems, to a toasty bitterness, with whispers of caraway and coriander seeds.
Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.