Slovenian Recipe of the Week: Ljubljana Iceberg in Salad

By , 13 Jun 2019, 08:34 AM Gourmet
Slovenian Recipe of the Week: Ljubljana Iceberg in Salad All photos: Neža Loštrek

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June 12, 2019

Ljubljana Iceberg is an autochthonous Slovenian variety of crisp lettuce, which originates from Ljubljana and its inner and surrounding gardens, and in the 19th century spread to Graz, Vienna and Prague. It represents the main central Slovenian salad ingredient that has been dealt with as a delicacy - eaten fresh and only slightly seasoned with garlic, oil and vinegar. That is, at least till the 1970s, when fashions of taste changed in favour of more lasting lettuce varieties, which affected the development of this variety as well.

Heads of the all green Ljubljana Iceberg, at the central Ljubljana marketplace

Originally, Ljubljana lettuce had a reddish edge on its leaves and did not have a pronounced head. It only lasted for a very short period of time after being taken from the garden and had to be eaten more or less the same day.

In the 1970s a red edge was no longer desirable for consumers in Slovenia; therefore, a breeding selection was made in favour of plants with a green edge and a bigger head.

In recent years autochthonous varieties and home grown produce has regained its previous value, and today the original Ljubljana Iceberg seeds with the red edge are available again, all thanks to the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, who managed to find genetic samples of the original variety in Dutch, Czech and German gene banks (source) .

Since we have no garden, we had to buy our lettuce at the market place, where the only available version was the all green one. Which is fine as well.

Ljubljana Iceberg forms a fine a delicate salad and needs little extra excitement in the form of other ingredients. All we need is a pinch of salt, a chopped clove of fresh garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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Serve immediately after seasoned.

Dober tek!

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