Grace Young's Stir-Fried Iceberg Lettuce

By • April 8, 2014 • 6 Comments

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Author Notes: A near-instant springy green vegetable before the springy greens. (And, yes, you can cook lettuce -- here's why you should.) Note: You can use this technique on many other vegetables in season, including romaine lettuce, spinach, watercress, baby bok choy, asparagus (fat spears sliced 1/4-inch thick on the bias; pencil spears in 2-inch lengths), snow peas and snap peas. Adapted slightly from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Saveur MagazineGenius Recipes

Serves 4

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or other neutral oil
  • 4 scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed
  • 1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce, cored, outermost leaves discarded, inner leaves torn into 4-inch wide pieces (or substitute 12 ounces of other greens -- see headnote)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine or sherry, sugar, and pepper; set sauce aside.
  2. Heat a wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add peanut oil, half of the scallions (including all of the white and light green pieces), and garlic and cook until garlic is golden, about 5 seconds. Add lettuce and stir-fry until lettuce softens slightly, about 1 minute. Drizzle in sauce and cook until lettuce is just coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt, divide between 4 bowls while lettuce is just tender and still bright green, and garnish with remaining scallions.
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5 months ago Winniecooks

Gotta try this tonight. And, of course, there is nothing better than grilled romaine! Lettuce really can be a marvel!


5 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Made this last night. What a revelation! I had to hunt a bit for iceberg lettuce, as it doesn't seem to be in demand at the places I typically shop for produce. I added a dozen teeny tiny bok choy, sliced lengthwise. Served with the Genius fish (recipe posted last week), over my not-recipe quinoa, plus some roast carrots -- put in the oven to roast when I turned it on to heat it for the fish. Active time, all told, for the entire dinner: about 15 minutes, if that much. A keeper! ;o)


5 months ago koc

I just made this as written tonight for dinner and it was delicious! Excellent flavor!


5 months ago barbara

Love it! I omitted the sesame and peanut oils and replaced with just a tablespoon of grape seed oil. I know sesame would add great flavor, but I am cutting calories. Still awesome.


5 months ago Barb168

Yummy! I was introduced to stir-fried lettuce when I lived with Chinese housemates, and it is delicious. Sometimes they also added fried eggs and chopped tomatoes to the lettuce (don't know the name of that dish, though).


5 months ago student epicure

yum! i love stir-fried lettuce! i also make a version with fermented tofu and shaoxing wine.