Don’t underestimate your romaine lettuce. Sure, it makes for wonderful caesar salads, but did you realize it enjoys a bit of sizzle? Unlike other lettuces, romaine is quite tolerant of heat. Over the past few months, we’ve been playing with it in stir-fry situations and it’s never let us down. Instead, it’s opened our eyes to how perfectly suited it is to stir-fry and how it gives a pleasant crisp texture if given the chance.
You’re probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind and many of you may find me outright blasphemous. It all started when Joe made dinner one night and used romaine instead of bok choy. In his mind, all leafy greens are the same (he also thinks cucumbers and zucchinis are the same thing). His stir-fried romaine turned out surprisingly good, so we’ve continued to use it and like it quite a bit. No longer is romaine a substitute or fallback when we’re out of bok choy — I purposefully purchase romaine hearts to stir-fry.
Here is how I prepared the romaine most recently and I found this combination to work well together.
Ginger & pepper romaine stir-fry
2 hearts of romaine, cut into 1″ strips
1 pepper sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon chili oil (or more to your liking)
1 tablespoon oil, preferably peanut
Bring a wok up to high temperature, then coat with the peanut oil. Add peppers and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until they begin to take on some color but remain crisp. Add green onion and ginger, toss to combine.
Add romaine lettuce and toss to combine with other ingredients. Once the romaine begins to slightly wilt down, add the soy sauce and chili oil. Continue to stir-fry, about another 2 minutes until leafs are wilted but stems remain firm.
The end result is a deliciously crisp and refreshing dish that can be served as a side or as a light meal. The lettuce wilts a bit, but the stems remain firm and crisp. The peppers add extra crunch, the ginger a bit of bite and the soy lends a tangy sauce. The chili oil will add a note of warmth but isn’t ‘hot’ at all. I might increase the chili oil a bit more next time.
You can easily substitute pea pods or bean sprouts in place of the peppers. I served it as a side, but with some meat thrown into the mix it would make a nice main course too.
So, my parents came over today and brought me lunch. I felt bad that I hadn’t prepared anything, so I busted out my Nigella breakfast bars. They not only enjoyed them, they asked me for the recipe. Go figure.
I just started adding ‘printer-friendly’ links to my recipe pages — let me know what you think and whether you find it useful.