Cherokee is a looseleaf lettuce which means it does not form a compact head like iceberg. In the garden, it is slow to bolt with a high tolerance to heat and bottom rot, making it easy to grow. It has a mild flavor with a slightly bitter finish, and a soft leaf and crunchy stem.
Here are a few culinary ideas to highlight Cherokee's amazing color:
• all-purple salad with radiccio, thin sliced red onion, chive blossoms and opal basil (would blackberries be pushing it?)
• salad with bright yellow and orange nasturtium blossoms
• as a bed for carrot salad, or a whole salmon fillet, or
• on sandwiches or as ssäm (lettuce-wrapped parcels)
Cherokee also mixes beautifully with green lettuce and makes a nice addition to any tossed salad. If you don't see it at your markets, ask your farmer to try growing some. Or try it in your own garden -- you can order seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds.
Related: Simple Tip: How to Wash Lettuce
(Image: Dana Velden)