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Sierra lettuce forms a loose heart that connects individual upward growing leaves that are green at the base and midsection giving way to glossy and frilly textured, burgundy-bronze hued tops. Sierra's flavor is complex, rich, forward and nutty. Its ribs are succulent and crunchy while its upper leaves are quilted, yet delicate in texture.
Sierra lettuce is available fall into winter.
Sierra lettuce is a hardy, red semi-heading, semi-loose leaf lettuce in the Batavia family. Batavia lettuces are cut-and-come-again types of lettuces. Though bearing litte resemblence, Batavian lettuces are known as the French equivalent to Iceberg lettuce - their trade name is simply "French Crisp". Perhaps the comparison was due to the fact that they were first cultivated at the same time as Icebergs were in America. Red Batavia lettuces include Pasquier, Polonaise, Rouge Grenobloise, Rustica and Sierra. Sierra lettuce benefits from both its Batavian heritage and its anthocyanin content. The level of anthocyanins in any food plant increase its red coloring, its nutritional value and its perceived value as studies prove that persons respond more favorably to red colored fruits and vegetables.
Because of Sierra lettuce's substantial levels of anthocyanins, it contains health boosting antioxidants. Anthocyanins have some of the strongest physiological effects of any plant compounds. Anthocyanins' health benefits include anti-flammatory and anti cancer properties as well as diabetes preventative qualities.
Sierra lettuce is both a stand alone salad lettuce and a vibrant addition that adds depth and color to mixed greens. It's frilled edges are perfect for holding on to vinaigrettes or creamy dressings alike. The best use of Sierra lettuce, as well as any tender and colorful red leaf lettuce, is to pair with favorable companion ingredients such as bright herbs, including dill, basil and mint, aged and blue cheeses, bacon, shallots or leeks, nuts such as pistachios and marcona almonds, apples, pears, persimmons, bright fruits such as berries and citrus, succulent summer melons and stone fruit.
Sierra lettuce, like all Batavian lettuces, is native to France, where it is known as Gloire du Dauphiné. Its Batavian predecessors, Pierre Bénite and Reine des Glaces were first documented in print in 1885 in Vilmorin-Andrieux's famous "Les Plantes Potagères". Sierra lettuce's English namesake is attributed to the growing region in which it thrives, the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Sierra lettuce is known for its ability to withstand the heat without wilting or bolting, making it an ideal summer lettuce variety. When harvested young, the dense head at the lettuce's center is unformed or just initiating form. All the outer leaves are cut along with the head to preserve the lettuce's growing consistency.
Recipes that include Sierra Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Nourishing Gourmet||Tangy Herbed Lettuce Soup|