celtuce is an Asian lettuce that was bred for its stem. The whole plant is edible, stalk & leaves, but the stalk is the most valued part. celtuce has somewhat of a celery taste, hence the name. Stems and leaves can be cooked together or separate.
Peel the leaves off the stalk and use them for a quick stir-fry. All that’s needed is a clove of garlic and some oil. It can be combined with tofu, shrimp or chicken.
The stems are similar to celery. You need to peel the stem and discard the outer skin and cut the stock up into pieces. The stock is often eaten by itself as a stir-fry with garlic and onion. It has a rich flavor so you don’t need to do much with it.
celtuce likes butter. The taste of celtuce is strong, but it can be easily be overpowered by too many ingredients, simple preparations taste better. You don’t have to do much to it, just let the celtuce be celtuce.
Simple recipe for the leaves: celtuce goes best with organic sesame oil but you can use any good quality oil. Peel & slice garlic, sauté lightly, without browning the garlic, just enough to infuse the oil. Add your choice of protein. When protein is done, add the celtuce leaves and heat enough to wilt. Season with salt and pepper then serve over rice. Eat over delicious brown rice or brown rice noodles.
Simple recipe for the stalk: Give the peeled stems a quick poach in some seasoned vegetable broth, dry them off and fry the stalks in butter. The flavor is amazing. You might think that cooking a vegetable in liquid and then frying it would be counter-intuitive, but after it’s been poached the flavor of the celtuce blooms, and comes alive. Even after cooking for 10 minutes or so in the broth, the stem’s flavor is intense. It’s a little hard to describe, but imagine a root vegetable with a silky texture that tastes intensely of something along the lines of toasted nuts or sunflower seeds. It’s really special.