I love iceberg lettuce. It may not taste like much, but the cool, crisp crunch it brings to meat-and-cheese-heavy salads (such as the glorious wedge) and salty, mayo-y sandwiches (such as a tuna salad situation) is iconic. I know romaine has more “flavour,” but that “flavour” is “leaf,” and you should be seasoning your sandwich greens anyway.
I’m usually a shredded lettuce bitch, but Bon Appetit recently made a strong case for thick planks of well-seasoned iceberg, which they call “lettuce steaks.” These 1 1/2-inch-thick planks of lettuce shift the ratio firmly in favour of crunch, while the “steak”-like cut keeps the leaves from sliding off. Bon Appetit also recommends seasoning the “steaks” with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, but I think subbing in some red wine vinegar for the lemon would be quite nice, as well — especially if you’re working with meats of the Italian persuasion.
You should bop over to BA to read their full process and sandwich recipe, but I plan to be incorporating many lettuce planks into my tuna and chicken salad sandwiches. (BLTs too, but we’re far too early in the year for that.) BA’s instructions for making these planks are easy:
To make your steak, rest 1 medium head of iceberg lettuce on a work surface on the stem end and slice off one rounded end to create a flat surface; set rounded end aside (“snack lettuce”). Slice off a 1½”-thick plank of iceberg; if this is way too large to reasonably fit within the perimeters of your sandwich bread, trim plank down to size.
Once you have your plank, drizzle on a high-acid vinaigrette and set the seasoned leaves on top of a tuna salad sandwich, BLT, or BA’s very own HLT (that’s ham, lettuce, and tomato).