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Iceberg Lettuce - What's the secret?!

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by Kommandant33, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

    Mar 6, 2011
    Cheltenham VIC
    Hey everyone

    I love iceberg lettuce when I am making sammiches and burgs at home - it is cool, and sweet and just the perfect neutral accompaniment with a lot of things.

    But I do feel it's missing something - you can go to some places for a schnitzel sammich, and the sweetness of the iceberg lettuce almost has a vinegary taste to it. Is it just because the lettuce is sitting in water to keep it fresh? Or do they add something to it?

    What is the secret?!
  2. caspian

    caspian Member

    Mar 11, 2002
    dressing. apply a small amount of very light, sweet vinaigrette. neutral oil (cottonseed etc), white vinegar, sugar. much less than you'd normally dress a salad with.

    freshness helps immensely. iceberg tends to go on forever at home, turning over lots of it means it is crisp and delicious.

    there's also a food lore that you shouldn't cut lettuce with a metal knife because it causes it to brown. I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation one way or the other about the validity of this, although I am willing to be convinced. I do believe that freshness largely negates the effect if indeed it exists though, because several commercial kitchens I have worked in used to go through multiple whole crates of iceberg every day that were shredded with a boring Victorinox chef's knife with no holding issues over half a trading day. cut on demand and it should not be an issue in a home kitchen.
    Kommandant33 likes this.
  3. scon

    scon Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    San Mateo, CA
    Also make sure you're salting your salad dressings.
    Kommandant33 likes this.
  4. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    Cheltenham East 3192
    I've always simply removed the outer layers by hand, then physically torn chunks of the lettuce from the crisper inner layers. A sandwich shop often won't be that wasteful, the good ones however would never use the outer leaves.

    There is also a nice trick to choosing a decent iceberg. Pick it up and judge its weight. A heavy iceberg is denser, has many more crisp inner layers than a lighter one.

    Just the lightest dusting of ground pink himalayan salt (and I really mean light), and real (unsalted - but you can use salted if you don't add more salt as i recommended initially) butter rather than marg, and a bare lettuce sandwich is heaven on the taste buds. Ideally on a nice light rye bread.

    I never chop an iceberg, I hate chopped lettuce. Apart from being messy, I think it destroys the taste. I can't explain why, perhaps it's because it looses a lot of crunch, or perhaps more cut surface allows air to penetrate better and destroys the taste somehow. Of course, it may be just my own perception too.
    Kommandant33 likes this.
  5. macktheknife

    macktheknife Member

    Jul 26, 2005
    It's not valid. A knife will tear the internal structure of the lettuce the same as hand tearing does. The myth goes that doing it by hand makes it split "naturally" which somehow prevents it from browning compared to cutting through with a knife.

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