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Sierra lettuce is small to medium in size, growing in tall, compact heads with a loose, open top. The broad leaves are connected to a central pale green to white heart, and each leaf has a prominent midrib. The leaves are also thick, glossy, have a frilly texture, and are bright green with red tinges across the surface. Sierra lettuce is crisp, tender, and juicy with a mild and slightly nutty flavor.
Sierra lettuce is available in the fall through winter.
Sierra lettuce, botanically classified as Lactuca sativa, is a hardy, semi-loose-leaf variety that is a member of the Asteraceae family. Growing 15-30 centimeters in height, Sierra lettuce is a Batavian lettuce, which are varieties native to France that are cut-and-come-again lettuces. Sierra lettuce is favored for its crisp and tender texture and is most commonly used in fresh applications such as salad.
Sierra lettuce contains vitamin A, potassium, calcium, folate, and anthocyanins, which are health-boosting antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Sierra lettuce is best suited for raw applications as its crunchy texture and mild flavor is showcased when served fresh. The leaves can be torn and tossed with other greens for a dynamic salad, and the lettuce’s frilly texture holds oil-based dressings, evenly distributing flavor. The leaves can also be used as a taco shell, rolled in wraps, and layered in sandwiches. Sierra lettuce pairs well with bright herbs including dill, basil, and mint, goat and blue cheeses, meats such as bacon, tuna, sausage, and smoked chicken, shallots, leeks, garlic, nuts such as pistachios and Marcona almonds, apples, pears, persimmons, berries, citrus, summer melons, and stone fruit. The leaves will keep up to a week when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Though bearing little resemblance, Batavian lettuces are known as the French equivalent to iceberg lettuce and 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 in America. Sierra lettuce is also known for its ability to withstand the heat without wilting or bolting, making it an ideal home garden variety.
Sierra lettuce 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. Today Sierra lettuce is found at farmers markets and specialty grocers in Europe and the United States.
Recipes that include Sierra Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Cilantropist||Easy Everyday Salad|