Greens: A primer

April 17, 2002

Iceberg: pale green and crisp, not as flavorful as other varieties

Romaine: also known as cos, tastes slightly nutty and sweet

Mizuna: pungent Japanese green that is a relative of the mustard family

Bibb lettuce: also known as limestone, butter or Boston lettuce, has subtly sweet leaves

Leaf lettuces: have frilled or crumpled edges; may be all green or bordered in red or brownish red. Oak-leaf lettuce is one example.

Arugula: also called rocket cress or roquette, has dark green, notched leaves and a sharp peppery flavor

Dandelion: long, slender indented leaves, prized for their tart taste

Watercress: grows in shallow moving water and tastes peppery

Bitter chicory: a number of greens fall within category, including Belgian endive, which has cream-colored leaves, tinged with green at the top, and a bitter taste. Other endive include French curly endive known as frisee, broad-leafed escarole and radicchio, with ruby-hued, white-veined leaves.

- "James McNair's Salads" (Chronicle Books, 1991, $12.95)

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