Lettuce & Lovage Soup
I first made lettuce soup when I was a teenager. A friend of mine happened to come around and visit whilst I was meddling in the kitchen and I gave her a spoonful of it to try. Whilst she was sampling that early example of my fledgling culinary artistry, I informed her that what she was eating was lettuce soup. I wasn't actually prepared for what came next. She thought I was weird. She ran across the kitchen squealing and spat it down the sink.
Perhaps some people think that lettuce shouldn't be cooked?
Why ever not? Lettuce soup has a lovely and unexpected, natural, creamy quality that when paired with lovage, a less commonly used herb that has hints of curry and celery, is perked up with a dash of intrigue and mystery. Lettuce soup. This one 'aint for spitting down the sink, believe me.
Lettuce and Lovage Soup
- I finely chopped an onion and sauteed it in a knob of butter until it was soft and translucent.
- I roughly chopped up a beautiful, vibrant green, frilly Galisse lettuce that I had bought from Green Gulch Farm and wilted it together with the onion and butter. (Despite its extreme prettiness which suggested to me it would taste as good as it looked, I actually found the raw Galisse a little too bitter for my taste which is what prompted me to cook it.)
- I added what was probably about a pint and a half of homemade stock I'd made up from the carcass of that chicken and its uncooked extremities.
- I simmered all the ingredients together just for 5 minutes.
Then I added just five lovage leaves from White Crane Springs Ranch. Go easy on the lovage leaves. They are pungent.
- Next I poured the soup into a blender. I was impatient and I didn't let it cool down enough so, even though I was holding down the lid, it managed to escape my grasp and next I knew, the kitchen, a new recipe book and I were all splattered with soup. Great. Some of it went in my eye. Pah.
- I like my soups to be silky smooth, but because something I once read made a lasting impression, I prefer not to strain out all the goodness, so I simply blended it like crazy.
- This soup works either hot or cold and I had a bowlful of it each way, but since I am the type of girl who drinks even water hot instead of cold, you'll undertsand why my preference is for the heated version more than the chilled.
If you want more official, professional sounding instructions for making Lovage and Lettuce Soup, then check out the Mr Hugh Fearnly Whittingshall's recipe instead of mine.
PS - The same friend who spat out the lettuce soup also heated up my gazpacho, another of my teenage experiments, in the microwave.