It may seem strange and unusual to learn about pickled lettuce, but believe me it is a very tasty and useful condiment. Everywhere you use vegetable pickles, this sweet and sour condiment will add a bright and piquant flavor. Growing up we couldn’t wait for the beginning of fresh lettuce season so our Mom could make this condiment. You can use it in all kind of sandwiches instead of cucumber pickles or in tacos instead of cabbage slaw, or also just as an accompaniment to meat and fish dishes. I like to lightly squeeze out the pickling liquid, add a little fragrant extra-virgin olive oil, some freshly chopped dill and cucumber slices and eat it as a salad. Try it and I am sure you’ll find a lot of creative ways for using this condiment. —Kukla
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Kukla is a classical pianist based in California.
WHAT: A condiment that will confound you, and then win you over.
HOW: Make a salad, pickle it.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love the versatility of this: it adds crunch and brightness on top of things, tucked in them, or on the side of them. It also works well as a salad on its own. Cucumber pickles, step aside. —The Editors
large bunches Green Leaf or 2 medium heads Iceberg lettuce, washed and dried
large garlic cloves, finely chopped
medium bunch fresh dill, thick stems removed and fronds roughly chopped
dried cranberries, tart cherries, or raisins
boiled warm water
red wine or apple cider vinegar
red pepper flakes or your favorite hot chile pepper, finely diced
Trim the ends of the green leaf lettuce and chop it in about ¾-inch wide ribbons. If using iceberg lettuce, core it, slice in half and then cut in about ¾-inch wide ribbons. Transfer to a very large bowl and toss with garlic, dill, and dried berries.
In a measuring cup combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir until sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and then pour over the lettuce.
Cover the bowl with a shallow plate that is a little smaller in diameter and place something heavy on top to press down the lettuce mixture. Let stand for about 2 hours, then pack tightly into a quart container and pour the pickling liquid over the top. Cover and chill until ready to use. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for more than 1 week.