Crispy crunchy iceberg.
After you've had all the GREENness and oakleafs and reds and mescluns with their tiny personalities and their wee cutenesses and popularity, after bales of romaine and bushels of arugula and radicchio, acres of endive and cress and frisee, there comes a time in the tide of things in which only iceberg will do.
It's a good old sweatshirt of a vegetable, a trusty friend and colleague, a lean-on-me food that can provide the L for BLT, shred into a perfect nest for keeping teensy tea sandwiches fresh and moist, top a taco or a sub or a burger with less than elan, but more than ennui.
It shreds or chops or leaves or cups with ease, making the transition from filler to cushion to neat package. Wedges of it with a cloak of dressing whose recipe is guarded like State Secrets take their place on tables with the most exquisite cuts of meat, in steakhouses of brilliant pedigree and long tenure, where white-shirted waiters in aprons-to-their-shoes have grown old in such lofty service.
It floats forth on pristine crystal plates in some of the most privileged homes, some of the most treasured restaurants, and nestles between layers of ersatz beef and secret sauce with perfect ease and equal aplomb.
And a pile of finely-shredded, lightly-salted iceberg is my favorite accompaniment beside a juicy grilled cheeseburger with all the fixin's. I eat it with my fingers, and don't even PRETEND it's fries.
It has its own credentials.