Ranging in flavor from mild to bitter and in texture from crisp to buttery, the greens you select have a big impact on your final salad.

Arugula

An Italian green that's notable for its tangy-peppery bite. Intensity depends on the maturity of the plant. Best left raw.

A great companion to Parmesan, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and prosciutto.

Cabbage

From soup to sauerkraut and slaw; cooked, cured or raw: Crisp, pungent cabbage is among the most versatile of leafy veggies. When thinly sliced, nearly any variety can provide the basis for a wonderful salad.

Lettuces

--Butterhead: A family of lettuces typified by soft, floppy leaves that gather loosely into a head.

Boston, Bibb and butter lettuce are the most familiar of these.

--Crisphead: These lettuces offer the virtue of crunch and near imperishability without the distraction of flavor. Iceberg lettuce is the best-known member of this family.

--Cos: Romaine is the most familiar of these. The long, crisp, juicy leaves stand up well to heavy dressing and pack plenty of flavor, as well as more nutrients than any other lettuce.

--Looseleaf: Red leaf, green leaf and oak leaf are just a few familiar varieties.

These are mild lettuces, characterized by crinkly leaves with open heads. Dress lightly.