When I tell people my lettuce crop is in full swing in November, they are usually surprised. Most people think of lettuces as a summer crop (maybe spring?). In fact, lettuces prefer the cooler weather. In the summer, they get bitter and bolt – the stalks spring up woody and the plant starts to flower and go to seed. In the cool weather they are sweet and a little spicy. The plants can survive a frost and even a light dusting of snow.
These lettuces fall into the “cut and come again” category. If you harvest properly, about 2 – 3 inches above the root, they will keep growing all season. While I don’t typically pick the lettuce in advance, sometimes I will harvest over a few days so that I have enough for a larger gathering. Each day, I pick only the biggest leaves, and the others keep growing. Unlike store-bought lettuces, my backyard lettuce lasts an impressive 10 days in the refrigerator – no need to worry about picking lettuces a few days in advance. Even better, they can last over night after they've already been dressed. This comes in handy if you pre-make sandwiches for lunch or dress too much salad for a dinner and want to eat it the next day.
I’m growing three types of lettuce for my Mesclun mix:
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, diced
2 sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound mesclun
2 tablespoons truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put portobellos on a baking sheet, fins up. Sprinkle garlic, shallots and thyme on top. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinergar on them and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until they are tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. When mushrooms are cooled, slice them. Toss lettuce first with truffle oil. Then season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with mushrooms and parmesan cheese.