Doesn’t this look just too pretty? I picked my first batch of romaine and red leaf lettuce from my garden couple days ago. Did you know that you can just pick the bigger leaves from your lettuce plant instead of plucking out the whole plant? This way, you can keep the lettuce growing longer..If you want crisper lettuce, you can pick them in the morning, wash and keep them in the fridge until dinner time. Although romaine lettuce is not a traditional Korean ssam material, it works just fine. In fact, you can also make ssam out of just plain iceberg lettuce but it’s not as flavorful. Different lettuces all offer different texture and taste so try a different combination.
Few interesting facts about lettuces…If anyone grew up in Korea, they would have heard adults talking about how ssam makes you sleepy and therefore it’s not the best food to eat when you need to study hard for an exam. I thought it was probably more because you end up eating too much – which I’m sure doesn’t help..Well, it’s actually true. Lettuces have an ingredient called Lactucarium which has a sedative and an euphoric effect that can make you sleepy. Another interesting thing to know is that having bulgogi or any other grilled meats with ssam has great benefits because the antioxidant effect of the lettuce fights against any carcinogenic effect a grilled meat can have- not to mention the various vitamins, minerals and tons of fiber it provides. So remember to eat your meats with your ssam!
So we had a wonderful dinner with this ssam, ssamjang, bulgogi and kimchi for dinner. When lettuces are picked fresh from your garden, they all taste sweeter and tender so it was great. Can’t wait for my kkatnip to grow so I can add it to this mix!