In the kitchen
Store in the fridge for 4-10 days, depending on the variety. Whole leaves attached to the lettuce last twice as long as chopped, washed leaves. Wash well before use.
Prep & Cooking tips
For salads, pull off the leaves you need, wash them well and use shredded or torn into manageable pieces. Keep the rest of the head in the fridge. Not just for salads, lettuce can be braised or griddled and adds a sweet, clean taste to soups.
Tips for a good salad
Try for a mix of strong, peppery and mild flavours to create an interesting overall balance. Contrast a salty cheese or olives with something sweet like apples, roast peppers or tomatoes. Combat any bitter tastes with something sharp and acidic.
Toasted nuts, seeds or croutons will lend a crunch to proceedings. Cooked and cooled pulses and grains such as puy lentils, spelt, farro, and chickpeas will lend a bit of bite as well as bulk. Early in the season, try adding raw broad beans, asparagus and peas for extra succulence.
Take the time to layer and place your ingredients to show off their colours, shapes and contrasts. Herbs, crumbled cheese, nuts and vibrant coloured dressings are best added at the end as a finishing flourish.
Goes well with
Minted braised Little Gems
Serves: 4 Total time: 35 min
Serves: 4 Total time: 25 min
Scandanavian smorrebrod with curried celeriac remoulade
Serves: 4 Total time: 20 min
Serves: 2 Total time: 1h
In the field
Meet the grower: Uni-Vert, France
Uni-Vert a French co-operative growing a wide variety of organic fruit, veg and herbs.
The most common lettuce in France. They have a fairly crunchy texture and earthy flavour and can be either green or red in colour.
Butterhead lettuce gets its charming name from the sweet, mild flavour and tender texture of the ruffled outer leaves. Some varieties are green, and some dark red.
The old-fashioned Mr McGregor-style lettuce. Sweet and crunchy - the classic Caesar salad leaf.
Sometimes known as mâche, lamb's lettuce is a soft, succulent salad green with a delicately tangy flavour.
Really a mini Cos. Good shelf life and texture, plus they can be very sweet. They are good cooked, too.
True to its name, the leaves of this lettuce look like large oak leaves. It has a buttery texture and a sweet, mellow flavour with just a hint of nuttiness, making it a perfect match for savoury dressings.
Pain de sucre/Sugarloaf chicory
The sweetest of the bitter leaf family. Balance its earthy bitterness with a balsamic dressing, or cook with ham/bacon and lots of cheese and cream.
Dark rosettes, with burgundy outer leaves paling to a light green heart. Their leaves are tender, with a delicate, sweet, buttery flavour – just right for refreshing salads.
Varieties in season now...