In our ongoing quest to always be finding new unique and delicious things to grow, this week we are delighted to introduce... CELTUCE!
Celtuce is a Chinese variety of lettuce grown not for the leaves but instead for the tender and crispy stem. Peal off the tougher outer layer to reveal the beautiful pale green stalk, which has a strikingly unique, nutty flavor, and can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stir-fries or soups.
The following is a recipe for a simple salad of celtuce from my favorite Chinese cookbook, Land of Fish and Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop.
Celtuce Salad with Spring Onion Oil
From Land of Fish and Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop
2 celtuce stems (about 1.5 lbs)
4 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions, green parts only
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp superfine sugar
Use a potato peeler to remove the fibrous outer layer of the celtuce stems. Slice the stems thinly, then cut the slices into slivers. Put the slivers in a bowl, add 1 tsp salt and mix thoroughly. Set them aside in a colander for half an hour or so.
Drain off any water that has emerged from the celtuce and squeeze the strips tightly to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Put the spring onions in a small heatproof bowl.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok until the edges of the wok are beginning to smoke. Pour the hot oil over the spring onions; it should sizzle fiercely. Pour the spring onions and oil onto the celtuce, add the sugar and extra salt to taste and mix well. Pile up on a dish to serve.