Blanching immerses food into boiling water, then submerges it in ice water to stop the heat from continuing to cook it. Blanching lettuce removes a bitter taste often associated with garden-grown varieties, and alters the texture for certain dishes.
Fill a large pot three-fourths with water. Add a generous dash of salt. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water. Add enough ice cubes to raise the water level to three-fourths full. Set the bowl close to the stovetop.
Rinse the lettuce leaves in cool water and drop them into the boiling water. Slice the lettuce leaves into strips if your recipe calls for strips. Allow them to boil for approximately 20 seconds before removing the leaves with metal tongs or a slotted spoon. Drop the leaves into the ice water.
Allow the leaves to sit in the ice water for 30 seconds before removing them with the tongs or slotted spoon. Place the lettuce leaves on a paper towel to drain excess water.