Many of you know of or have read Michael Pollan’s books (Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma). He writes about lettuce in a chapter on industrial organic.
One pound of pre-washed lettuce in a bag provides about 80 calories of food energy. To grow, wash, package, chill, and ship the lettuce across the country requires 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy — about 57 times the caloric value of the food. On average, the foods we eat take 7 to 10 calories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie we consume.
Fortunately, we have options that can make some difference. We can choose to go to a local farmers’ market to buy our lettuces and, in a small way, save a little energy. I haven’t thought about lettuce and other salad greens very much before.
Before moving to California many years ago, I never had things hanging out of the sides of my sandwiches and salads only consisted of iceberg lettuce. Then came mung bean sprouts and many new kinds of leafy greens to sample.
More and more, salad ingredients got complicated. This spectacularly tasty and easy-to-make offering uses an old standby, arugula, but also frisée. I didn’t expect the almost vehement opposition to frisée from a family member and other guests.
To quote: “Incredibly irritating” and “There’s no there there” and “an aggressive lettuce”. Personally, I think it adds character to the fresh figs (Most figs grown in the United States are grown in California — we are lucky to get them fresh), tomatoes, and other ingredients.
I’m sure this salad would also be good with normal, more boring greens.