Recipe By: Daniel McLaughlin
So it may seem counter‐intuitive to ever put a piece of lettuce to the flame, but believe me, it makes delicious sense once you try it. Lettuce soup is a French tradition for making a quick and easy use of leftovers that would otherwise be tossed to the compost heap. This same soup can be made with many different lettuces depending on the desired flavor profile. Just sub the lettuce here for arugula, sorrel, or even spinach. This soup is entirely vegetarian, and can easily be made Vegan with the omission of the cream or by substituting it with an alterna‐milk. (I’m thinking oat might be best with the flavors of the lettuce–let me know if you try a version that works for you).
D$ Notes: This soup can appeal to a lot of different dietary limitations, (ie gluten, dairy, vegetarian) by simply switching the garnishes. As a conscious omnivore I'm happy to have the crunch of buttery bread, the bright acid of pungent tomatoes and the smokiness of bacon complementing this cool smooth lettuce soup. However, vegetarians might want to try some simple creme fraiche. Vegans could get away with olive oil and chive blossoms. Gluten free bread, when toasted, would actually serve well instead of baguette, or just leave the bacon and tomatoes to play on their own, perhaps with some caramelized shallots. Be playful, and you’ll be rewarded.
- 1 large onion, sliced
- Salt and ground pepper
- 2 to 3 heads romaine lettuce, cut into thin ribbons
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ to 1 cup cream or half-and-half
- Small croutons, crumbled bacon and chopped tomatoes for garnish.
- 1. Put butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; when it melts, add onion and sweat for about 2 minutes or until it begins to soften; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce to the pan, and cook until it wilts. Add stock, turn the heat to medium‐high and bring liquid to a boil; lower heat to medium and cook until lettuce is very soft, about 5 minutes.
- 2. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to purée the mixture until smooth. Then add about 2 cups of iced water, put in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- 3. Once soup is chilled, add cream or half‐and‐half to taste and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with what you will and enjoy.