Farmers' markets and good supermarkets are offering more and more greens. Here's a quick guide of essential greens and lettuces for making great salads.

  • Arugula: Pepper, assertive flavor, widely used in Italian cuisine, slightly bitter with a hint of mustard, in season during spring
  • Butter lettuce: Buttery-textured leaves, slightly sweet flavor, bruises easily
  • Iceberg lettuce: Crunchy, lasting texture, ideal for make-ahead salads, can last in the refrigerator for up to a week
  • Leaf lettuce: The most common are green leaf, red leaf, and oak leaf, which is named for its shape
  • Radicchio: Also known as Italian chicory, bitter pepper-flavor, has white veins with magenta or maroon leaves
  • Curly endive: Lettuce-like endive, lacy and curly rims, prickly texture, slightly bitter taste
  • Escarole: It's the mildest endive, has broad and bright leaves, slightly curly, has a hint of bitterness
  • Frisee: Member of the chicory family, feather-like leaves, yellowish-green color, mildly bitter taste
  • Romaine: Grows in heads, dark-green to yellowish-green hearts, crisp-texture, great for Caesar salads
  • Spinach: Dark green, fresh fragrance, mild flavor, prime for raw salads
  • Watercress: Member of the mustard family, small and crisp leaves, sharp and peppery flavor