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THE DISH ON EATING LOCAL ROMAINE LETTUCE

3 ways you can enjoy discovering local romaine lettuce in your area!

1. Find Romaine Lettuce at your Local Market

Eating local romaine lettuce is an easy way to support Arizona’s local economy and provide your family a delicious vegetable! Purchasing produce from your local markets not only helps support Arizona’s independent farmers but also gives you the freshest and best-tasting produce you can find. According to Local First Arizona Foundation, local food tastes better because it travels a shorter distance from the farm to you; cultivated and picked at the peak of its natural season; and allowed to naturally ripen.

You can find romaine lettuce throughout your local Arizona markets. Find the local market nearest you and your family and help support Arizona’s local economy. 

2. Eat Romaine Lettuce at your Local Restaurant

Many local restaurants endorse sourcing out some of the best ingredients, but do they use local ingredients? Here is one such restaurant we have discovered that uses local Romaine Lettuce in this wonderful dish by Chef Gary Hickey called Charred Romaine Wedge con Chicharrón. Below is the information to find out more on this location and restaurant.

Charro Steak

Location: 188 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701

Website: charrosteak.com

To find more local restaurants sourcing local ingredients click here!

Recipes change all the time and viewers should check with all restaurants to find out what’s on the menu currently.  

3. Learn a Recipe to Make it Yourself

Want to discover how to make this local romaine lettuce dish? Watch the video on just how easy it is to bring Farm to your table.

Want to discover how to make this local romaine lettuce dish? Watch the video on just how easy it is to bring Farm to your table.

Chef Gary Hickey's Charred Romaine Wedge con Chicharrón

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound pork bellies (chicharrones)
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 4 grape tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • Smoked bleu cheese dressing
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bake pork bellies in a roasting pan for 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  3. Preheat grill to medium.
  4. Chop baked pork bellies into bite-sized chunks
  5. Deep fry until golden brown.
  6. Should result in about 1 cup.
  7. Wash and halve lengthwise romaine lettuce.
  8. Wash and halve grape tomatoes.
  9. Grill lettuce halves just enough to char the ends.
  10. Place on large, white, oval plate.
  11. Ladle dressing to taste.
  12. Evenly finish with grape tomatoes, cotija cheese, red onion, and pork bellies on each plate.
  13. Serve immediately.

LET US TALK ABOUT LETTUCE

Want to know more about local romaine lettuce?

Lettuce was first cultivated by the Egyptians who turned it from a weed into a food plant.  Egyptian tombs even depict lettuce in paintings. It spread into Greece and Italy where many varieties developed.  The origins of romaine lettuce begin in western Europe and the eastern Mediterranean areas. The people of Rome believed it to have amazing healing properties.  The philosopher Pliny wrote that the Emperor Augustus Caesar put up a statue to honor its healing abilities after being cured of a serious illness. And the salad? Yeah, it’s named after him because of this too.  

Because of its popularity there, people began calling it Roman lettuce.  In French, this translates to laitue romaine, which is where it gets its English name – or at least in America. In other English-speaking countries, it’s often called cos or cos lettuce because of the (incorrect) thought that its birthplace was the Greek island of Kos off the coast of Turkey.  It’s also known as Manchester lettuce by some.

Part of the daisy family, believe it or not, romaine lettuce is the most healthful of the varieties of lettuce, which iceberg lettuce being the least healthful.  Romaine lettuce is low in calories and full of water. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A & K, of folate, and of molybdenum. It’s also a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, and vitamins biotin, B1 and C.  Romaine is distinguished from many of the other lettuces because of its elongated head with dark green, long, narrow, crisp leaves that have a stiff rib almost to the end of each leaf.  

Lettuce is hands down the most popular vegetable in salads, and romaine is the foundation of a Caesar salad. But did you know that romaine is a great addition to meal replacement smoothies? It has a mild flavor that is easily masked by other ingredients like bananas or other sweet fruits, and you can add an entire head of romaine to give the smoothie a boost of nutrition.  Just wash each leaf separately then add them after you’ve mixed the fruit so the smoothie blends easily.

Romaine lettuce is harvested in Arizona November through March, generally thriving in the cooler months.  When shopping for romaine lettuce, choose bright, crisp heads – nothing wilted or with dark or slimy spots.  The edges of the leaves should be free of yellow or brown discoloration. The heads should be relatively compact still.  Like any other leaf lettuce, romaine should be washed and dried before being stored in the fridge to remove excess moisture.  Drying it is very important as this moisture will lead to bacterial growth. Store in the crisper in a plastic bag or wrapped damp cloth.  When dried well, romaine will keep for five to seven days.

Buying local romaine lettuce is beneficial to the local economy, good for the environment, and support a healthy lifestyle.  When we purchase romaine lettuce from a local market or farmers market, we make an active choice to know exactly where our food is coming from.  With all the farmers right here in the state of Arizona, we can be assured that your produce is being taken care of from the seed to the market stand.

2019-05-29T18:22:35+00:00