What would summer be without the sweet crunch of lettuces and salad greens? An essential addition to tacos and sandwiches and the foundation of salads from Caesar to Cobb, the innumerable varieties of lettuce lend crispness to all kinds of summer dishes. They vary widely in flavor and texture: Iceberg lettuce, for example, has a sweet, watery crunch that’s at home in a wedge salad with blue cheese; crisp romaine is ideal for adding to sandwiches; watercress has a bright, peppery flavor; and mizuna, a Japanese member of the mustard family, has a gentle spicy zing.
HOW TO BUY
Avoid salad greens that are wilted or have brown-edged or slimy leaves. Look for vivid colors and firm, glossy leaves that smell fresh.
HOW TO STORE
Remove any crushed or rotting leaves before you store your lettuce in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer with the humidity set to high. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use.
HOW TO PREPARE
To remove grit from leaves, agitate them in a bowl of cold water, remove leaves, and repeat with fresh water if needed. Spin until thoroughly dried, or shake to remove excess water and pat dry.