The Romaine Comeback
January 31, 2019 Market Report on Romaine Hearts: Demand and supplies are both good.
It’s no secret that 2018 was a rough year for Romaine lettuce. However, as growers continue to come together to brainstorm and implement improved food safety regulations, high hopes are on the horizon for this beloved leafy green, its reputation, and of course, its safety.
While spring mix, spinach, and kale are often regarded as the “healthy choice” for salads, the truth is that Romaine is actually very comparable.
Although it's low in fiber, it's high in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. Plus, Romaine lettuce is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. And that clean, refreshing, crunch just can’t be beat.
Ever had a grilled Caesar salad? Romaine holds up surprisingly well on the grill, and the blistering heat actually concentrates the natural sweetness in the greens. Simply douse with a little olive oil and flaky sea salt, and grill cut-side down for a few minutes, or until you get nice cross-hatch marks. Then top with loads of parmesan, croutons, and lemon juice. Romaine is also lovely as a base for smoothies.
It has loads of vitamin-packed water content, and subtle sweetness that pairs well with any fruit you throw into the blender. Romaine lettuce leaves are perfectly designed as edible bowls too. Simply remove the tough white stalk, and fill with chicken salad, smoked tofu, leftover burgers, really anything!
Ginger and Garlic-seared Chicken Wraps
This is a protein-lovers dream. Healthful, quick, and packed with flavor, this succulent chicken is complemented beautifully by the crunchy, slightly sweet Romaine.
10 large Romaine lettuce leaves, white stalks trimmed
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, minced
2 scallions, minced
2 tbs minced ginger
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola
6 medium shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts, chopped
½ cup cilantro leaves, minced
Lime wedges for garnish
Arrange Romaine lettuce leaves on a large platter. Pour hoisin into a small bowl; place on platter with leaves.
Mix chicken, scallions, ginger, jalapeno, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl; marinate 10 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add mushrooms; stir-fry 15 seconds.
Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add chicken mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves, dividing equally. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime. Roll leaves around filling and dip into hoisin.
About the Chef
Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.