Chinese-Style Stir-Fried Lettuce

Chinese-style Stir-fried lettuce

Have you ever made the mistake of buying a big head of lettuce when you already had another whole head in the fridge? Or had a surplus from your CSA farm share? This easy stir-fry is a good way to use lettuce, whether excess or not. It’s best to use crisp lettuce like romaine for this. The leaves become slightly tender and the midribs stay nice and crisp when prepared this way. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 4 to 6 as a side dish

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 medium or large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural granulated sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, to taste
  • Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish, optional
  • 2 teaspoons black or tan sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or wide skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden.

Meanwhile, wash the romaine leaves without separating them from the stem. Shake out the excess water, then lay on a cutting board. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide shreds.

Add the lettuce to the stir-fry pan and cover just until it wilts down a bit, about 2 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle in the sugar and stir-fry for another minute or so.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the sesame oil for extra flavor. Embellish with any or all of the optional ingredients, then serve at once.

Chinese-style Stir-fried lettuce

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