Iceberg is a head lettuce made up of wide crisp overlapping leaves, which may be smooth or blistered, slightly looser near the exterior and progressively tighter towards the heart. Iceberg lettuce looks like a large light green cabbage, becoming increasingly pale towards the center where the light cannot enter.
Head lettuce acquired the nickname “iceberg” because it is hardy and can withstand cold relatively well. In the old days, it was covered with ice so that it could be transported to market; in many regions it was the only variety available throughout the year.
Its cultivation dates back to ancient Egypt. It was also known to the Greeks and Romans. Its “head” shape was mentioned in 16th century documents and most varieties eaten today are the result of selections dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Appetitive, analgesic, emollient. Contains lactucarium that has effects similar to those of opium. Because of its sedative properties, it is recommended for treating insomnia, intestinal spasms and palpitations. As a poultice, it soothes sensitive skin. In lotions, it prevents the damaging effects of the cold and soothes dry and fragile skin.
Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 13; water: 95.89 g; carbohydrates: 2.9 g; fat: 0.19 g; protein: 1.1 g.
Rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, vitamins A, B, C, E and K.
Choose a nice green head with a clean unblemished stem end and firm crisp leaves.
Because of its compact shape, iceberg lettuce keeps much longer than other traditional varieties when stored in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.
Iceberg is prepared very easily, by giving the core three sharp hits on the countertop. It can then be removed with a simple twist.
To wash iceberg, pass the leaves quickly under running water. Dry in a salad spinner or kitchen towel.
With its relatively neutral flavor, iceberg lettuce is a favorite addition to sandwiches. It can be served raw, as well as cooked, stuffed or “en papillote.”
Iceberg lettuce loves creamy dressings and herbs.
Serve with mint leaves, peas, 15% farm cream, salt and pepper.
Use the leaves as little “boats” to hold avocado salad, tuna salad, etc.
Layer whole leaves, interspersing them with strips of warm roasted yellow pepper, fresh cheese such as cottage or ricotta seasoned with chopped chives, and small cubes of marinated salmon. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
Hints & Tips