This unusual Calabrian salad is called mappina, a dialect word for dishrag — because the oil-cured lettuce is damp and limp.
Adapted from The Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews, (to be published in fall of 2011 by Chronicle Books.)
Put the lettuce hearts into a rectangular glass or porcelain dish just large enough to hold them. Sprinkle them with the garlic and the red pepper flakes, then drizzle the oil over them. Season them to taste with salt.
Cut a piece of cardboard to just fit inside the dish, then wrap it in aluminum foil. Fit the cardboard on top of the lettuce, then weigh it down with 2 or 3 large cans of tomatoes (or something else). Refrigerate for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.