In praise of iceberg lettuce, tongue firmly in cheek! By the way, doesn’t it look like a picture of a brain? Yay, brain food indeed! 🙂
Lettuce and other leafy greens make up an important part of a healthy diet. However, when it comes to nutritional content, iceberg lettuce does not have a great reputation. Still, there are good things to be said about it.
First of all, it is very difficult to dislike an iceberg lettuce. Unlike many other leafy greens, it is very mild with a gentle sweet flavor. And it is so crisp, adding a crunchy texture to many a salad while other greens might have got wilted! No wonder it is also called ‘crisphead’ lettuce!
This lovely pale green vegetable is so full of water content that on a hot summer’s day it is as refreshing as a glass of water!
It makes a great starter salad for children before you can actually introduce them to the arugulas and frisees of the world. Once they accept an iceberg, it is easy to move on to other lettuces.
And why children alone? With its sweet flavor and pleasant crunch it is a great bridge food for people who don’t eat enough other vegetables.
But wait, there is more… iceberg lettuce is a powerhouse of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and folate!
And talk about health benefits! People who have issues with blood clotting may benefit from a diet high in Vitamin K, in other words iceberg lettuce.
People who have a history of bleeding disorders or liver disease, may want to check with their doctor whether iceberg lettuce is right for them. Good thing is, there are no side effects and no small print!
And above all, it starts with the letter ‘I’! It the only ingredient I could think of, for this series. If you can think of something else, please mention it in the comments… I dare you!
And the recipe is for a cold soup, in the lines of a gazpacho. Actually it is a kinda cross between a soup and a salad. No need to answer that eternal question in many Chinese restaurants: soup or salad? 🙂
Iceberg Lettuce soup
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
- 2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 slices bacon (thicker slices are better)
- 2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
- 4 Cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 large head iceberg lettuce, the outer leaves removed
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely minced chives for garnishing
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- Prepare the bacon as you usually do (in a pan, in the oven, or in the microwave). Keep aside.
- Cut the iceberg lettuce into four wedges. Slice one of the wedges into thin strips and keep aside. Rough chop the remaining three wedges of lettuce.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.
- Add half the chopped shallots. Sauté for two minutes.
- Add half the sliced cherry tomatoes.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil.
- Add the rough chopped lettuce leaves, with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for five minutes.
- When cold, blend thoroughly using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours.
- To serve, ladle the soup into a flat soup bowl. Sprinkle some of the kept aside lettuce strips on one half of the soup. Follow with sliced shallots, chives and tomatoes. Crumble the blue cheese and bacon on top.
- Serve immediately, with wedges of lemon, and hot sauce, if using.
4 thoughts on “I for Iceberg Lettuce”
Stopping in from the A to Z challenge. Thanks for debunking the myth that iceberg lettuce has zero nutritional value. The soup sounds amazing! You could have perhaps chosen Icelandic Cod as an ingredient, but since you used Halibut yesterday, Iceberg lettuce was definitely the way to go.
Icelandic cod is an excellent suggestion. Filed away for future use, in future A to Z Challenges. 🙂
Years ago, in the 70s, there was an iceberg lettuce boycott to support the United Farmworkers union — and I moved on to other lettuces, never to return. But your post has convinced me to give it another try! One helpful benefit of iceberg lettuce is its sedative properties. If you have trouble sleeping, make a lettuce salad then have sweet dreams 🙂
Never heard about the soporific effects of iceberg lettuce! Gotta try that. Especially as I have parts of it left in the fridge after making the soup.