Red Boston lettuce is a medium to large varietal and round in shape with loose, wavy, cupped leaves and an open center, similar in appearance to a rose. The broad, soft, outer leaves are thick and frilled at the edges with swirls of red, purple, and burgundy, and these leaves encompass more tightly bound, yellow-green leaves in the center of the head. Together they form a rosette pattern of leaves that are wide and have a smooth, silky consistency with a uniform crunch. Red Boston lettuce is tender and crisp with a nutty, mild, and sweet flavor.
Red Boston lettuce is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as braising or boiling. Predominately used as the principle ingredient in salad, its textures and subtle flavors are perfect for savory and bold, or bright, fruity companion ingredients. Red Boston lettuce is commonly layered in sandwiches or used as a wrap for tuna or chicken. In addition to fresh preparations, Red Boston lettuce can be cooked and transformed into an earthy and sultry ingredient when slowly braised or added to simmering soup, achieving a level of caramelization when paired with the right ingredients such as butter, rich meats, and chicken stock. It can also be used in stir-fries or mixed into cooked peas. Red Boston lettuce pairs well with bright herbs including dill, basil, and mint, lemon juice, mustard, vinaigrettes, citrus-based dressings, blue cheese, feta cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, bacon, anchovies, shallots, leeks, nuts such as pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, and Marcona almonds, apples, pears, seedless grapes, persimmons, and sliced grapefruit. It will keep 3-4 days in a loosely closed container when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.