Are you curious about the origins of the lettuce you eat week after week? Consider this: the leafy vegetable originated in Egypt in 2680 B.C. Since those days, people have enjoyed a myriad of varieties, including our favorite: butter lettuce, also known as Bibb or Boston. Known for its vibrant green hue, velvety texture and subtle sweet taste, butter lettuce has played a supporting role in many recipes, but it is in salad where lettuce is the real star.
May is National Salad Month and we’re highlighting some of America’s salad mainstays that have become integral to our dining history and foodie culture.
As legend has it, one night in 1937 restauranteur Bob Cobb, owner of the original Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, haphazardly threw together several ingredients he found lying around his kitchen. Cobb’s friend thought the salad was so delectable, he ordered it in the restaurant the next day. This incident marked the first of more than 4 million Cobb salads sold in the historic restaurant. Incidentally, this salad was also known under the moniker “The Derby” after the famed restaurant.
Much likes its Cobb counterpart, Caesar Salad has a storied past. According to foodie folk lore (though there are several versions out there) Caesar (Cesare) Cardini dreamt up the first Caesar Salad in his Tijuana establishment during Prohibition. Though the dish is often accompanied by Romaine, we encourage you to try it with butter lettuce, which is a great source for vitamins A and K. Want to try our Butter Lettuce Caesar Salad recipe? Download it here.
Though there is no record of when and where the first Wedge was served, many can attest its popularity at fashionable dinner parties in the 1960s. This simple dish, often made with iceberg lettuce, is seeing a comeback in trendy restaurants today. Traditionally prepared by chopping a head of lettuce in half and topped with blue cheese and a creamy dressing, the Wedge is now prepared in a variety of ways, like Veg Kitchen’s Butter Lettuce Wedge with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears, & Tempeh Bacon. Or, check out our Wedge Salad, made with butter lettuce, candied bacon and pomegranate seeds.
Do you or someone you know have a signature salad recipe? Make it with butter lettuce and enter your creation on www.lettucerecipecontest.com by July 31. You could win a $1,000 Williams-Sonoma gift card! Be sure to share your recipe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #butterlettucecontest so your foodie friends, fans and followers can you cheer you on or join in the competition too. Happy salad month!