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Asparagus lettuce consists of a tuft of dark green leaves resembling Romaine lettuce atop a long thick stem. The leaves and stem are both edible, but are usually prepared in different ways. The outer leaves are relatively tough and bitter, and they are often discarded. The mild-tasting leaves at the tip of the asparagus lettuce look and taste like lettuce. When eating it raw, the stem has the crunchiness, juiciness and a spicy flavor similar to celery; but it is milder and more delicate. When cooked, the stem tastes more like asparagus than celery.
Asparagus lettuce is available primarily in autumn and winter.
Asparagus lettuce, botanical name Lactuca sativa var augustana, is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is also known as Celtuce or Stem lettuce. It is an annual vegetable that is cultivated for its thick edible stem. The stem grows 6 to 8 inches long and about 1.5 inches in diameter. Asparagus lettuce is sowed during early spring because it grows best in cool season. Their thick stems allow them to thrive during harsh winters.
Asparagus lettuce is high in Vitamin A and C, and Manganese. It has four times the Vitamin C content of a regular lettuce. Asparagus Lettuce is a natural diuretic. It is an excellent supplement for people who have heart disease or high blood pressure.
Asparagus lettuce can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are commonly steamed or stir-fried in high heat because of their bitter taste. They can also be used as bitter accent in a green salad. The stems can be used as a substitute for celery in traditional French soups or salads. When steamed, the stems are comparable to asparagus. Because of its mild flavor, the stems are also used to complement stir fry dishes.
Asparagus lettuce is especially popular in China. It was brought to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) from the Mediterranean Coast.
Recipes that include Asparagus Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.
|China Sichuan Food||Stir-fried Celtuce Stem|
|Soy, Rice, Fire||Celtuce Ribbon Salad|
|Teczcape||Celtuce and Pasta in Fried Shallots and Pan-Seared Scallops|
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