Red Gem Lettuce
Inventory, 30 ct : 0
Red Gem lettuce is small to medium in size, averaging 13-20 centimeters in diameter, and has a compact, elongated head in a vase-like shape with densely packed leaves. The wavy leaves have serrated edges and are smooth, fleshy, and thick, beginning with a pale green base that transitions into a dark, burgundy-maroon towards the top of the leaves. The outer leaves are crisp with a melting quality, and closer to the core, the leaves are ribbed, succulent, and crunchy. Red Gem lettuce is buttery and crisp with a subtly sweet flavor.
Red Gem lettuce is available year-round.
Red Gem lettuce, botanically classified as Lactuca sativa, is an annual, loose-forming head variety that is a member of the Asteraceae or sunflower family. The petite, fully mature lettuce grows up to twenty centimeters in height and is favored by chefs for its crunchy texture and ability to withstand heat in cooking. It is also a favorite lettuce of home gardeners as it can grow in small spaces and containers, surviving periods of warm summer weather where other varieties would bolt and wither.
Red Gem lettuce contains a high level of anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory properties and also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Red Gem lettuce is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as pan-frying or braising. When used fresh, the leaves can be torn and served as a salad, layered as a bed for meats and fish, or filled with a dip. The leaves can also be used as a lettuce cup or wrap for Kung Pao chicken and fish tacos, used in summer rolls, or layered in sandwiches. The texture and subtle flavors of Red Gem lettuce are a perfect canvas for savory and bold companion ingredients and bright, fruity flavors. Red Gem lettuce also holds sauces, vinaigrettes, and juices in the grooves of the leaves, similar to an edible sponge. When cooked, Red Gem lettuce can be sliced in half and lightly grilled and served with a citrus vinaigrette. Red Gem lettuce pairs well with shallots, dill, blue cheese, tomatoes, leeks, peas, apples, pears, melon, nuts, bacon, basil, mint and dried fruits. The leaves will keep for a little over one week when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Red Gem lettuce is a loosely used marketing name given to the variety of lettuce known as Sucrine which means sugar in French. Though the Red Gem lettuce's commercial success correlates with the petite artisan lettuces achieving popularity in chefs' kitchens and within the arena of television cooking shows, it should be noted that it is also preferred over green lettuce for its coloring. Some studies have hypothesized that red pigmented food plants are chosen by consumers for their visual appeal.
The original Red Gem lettuce, also known as Buttercos Sucrine, is an heirloom lettuce originally cultivated in France. Today Red Gem lettuce can be found at farmers markets and specialty grocers and is primarily grown throughout Western Europe and along the coast of California in the United States.
Recipes that include Red Gem Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.