There are many categories of salad snobthe ingredient minimalists, the chop evangelists, the dressing-goes-in-the-bowl-first brigadebut perhaps the most vocal, and the most misguided, are those dedicated to the denigration of iceberg lettuce. To its detractors, iceberg is the avatar of commodity gastronomythe polyester of lettuces is a popular gibe. The influential Times food editor Craig Claiborne famously loathed it. It is omnipresent, Alice Waters, goddess of the farmers market, sniffed in a 2001 interview . It doesnt have a season, she said. It doesnt have a sense of place. The only thing iceberg really has going for it is durability, this line of thinking goesits a lettuce for growers, shippers, warehousers, and sellers, not a lettuce for eaters. But, like its glacial namesake, iceberg lettuce has a lot more going on beneath the surface. For starters, its far from flavorless: focus your palate as you take a bite and notice a clean sweetness blooming beneath the watery crunch, deepening, in the pale ruffle of the inner leaves and stems, to a toasty bitterness, with whispers of caraway and coriander seeds.