Cream of Lettuce Soup – Cooking for numpties and the terminally depressed

easy-peasy lemon-squeezy cuisine IV

Cream of Lettuce

Velouté de Laitue

Nota Bene: all translations into French are intended for you to impress your guests and make them believe they are dining at a posh restaurant. You will be henceforth regarded as a suave and sophisticated cosmopolitan man-of-the-world…(the Lady of the House should refrain from acknowledging her contribution to cooking and assorted household chores, lest her liberal friends look down with pity on her (Wait! What? You have liberal friends?). Tell them the charwoman did it.
This recipe contains no garlic, although you may add some with the onion.

Don’t know what to do with that head of lettuce that’s looking sorry for itself at the back of the fridge? Seek no further, turn it into a delicious Velouté de Laitue, a grown-up recipe that will make you look all sophisticated to the rest of the family. To be enjoyed warm or cold.

You will need: a head or two of lettuce, depending on size (2 little gems, 1 romaine etc…)

  • 1 large floury potato (or 2 smaller ones)
  • 1 onion
  • A whole or a half cube of vegetable or chicken broth (I like chicken broth better)
  • Salted butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Cream! (single or double), optional
  • A wooden spoon to stir with
  • A hand-held blender

Put some fat in your warm thick-bottomed saucepan (lard or salted butter)

When on the cusp of sizzling, add your chopped onion. Put the lid on, turn down the heat, wait for the onion to gently turn translucent.

In the meanwhile, peel your floury potato(es), cut into small cubes.

When the onion is nice and brown add the potato(es), stir with your wooden spoon, leave it for 5mn, which is enough time to read a small poem, or one of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

(= My Beautiful Love, for ever shall you live in my poems, untainted by age)

Come back to earth, add water to the pan, enough to cover the potato(es). Fling the cube/half cube of your chosen broth into it. Give it a wee stir.

Go back to doing something more entertaining for 20 minutes, or so. Enough time for the potato(es) to be almost thoroughly cooked. How do you know if the potato is almost cooked? Well, for a start it hasn’t turned to mush in the pan..Otherwise, get ahold of a sharp pointy knife, lift the lid and with a sadistic leer on your face pierce your chunk of potato (if unsure on how to do a sadistic leer, go watch some good old Hammer fillums).

If you’re not in the mood for horror, pretend your sharp blade is a harpoon and do a Captain Ahab on your fluffly potato bit.

If there is little resistance, your potato is almost fully cooked.

It is at this point that you add your shredded/torn bits of lettuce. Cover with more water and let it simmer for between 5 and 10 mn, until the leaves have taken on a brownish colour.

Do not, under any circumstance, let the liquid boil: it would destroy the delicate, buttery, flavour of the lettuce.

Liquidize the whole thing with a hand-held blender, until smooth.

Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Up till now, this velouté has been so velvety and creamy that there has been no need for me to add any cream. You may add a little butter to float like a melting islet in your bowl of velouté though.

Let it cool somewhat before eating, or you won’t taste the subtle flavours.


© text & images Aisotrcbifst 2022