How to use up wilted or bolted lettuce – recipe | Waste not…

Lettuce that’s bolted or gone to seed can often be bitter, so treat it like chicory and enjoy in a creamy, cheesy gratin

Last year, on a Chef’s Manifesto trip to Kew Gardens, we met the horticulturist Helena Dove in the kitchen gardens, where she told us about how the changing climate and shifting weather patterns are creating new challenges for farmers – for example, as the summers get hotter, and heatwaves more common, plants will bolt and flower much more easily. This is a particular issue with leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage, which need to be harvested before they shoot up. Dove gets around the problem by growing celtuce (AKA asparagus lettuce) as part of her crop rotation because, unlike other lettuces, this thick-stemmed member of the family can still be harvested after it has bolted with little effect on flavour.

Fortunately, both wilted and bolted lettuce are great to cook with, and will work alongside, or replace, leafy greens in any dish that calls for them. Bolted lettuce can sometimes be a little bitter, but, like chicory, it’s also wonderful barbecued, pan roasted or in a cheesy gratin.

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