Summer, it seems, is finally here. We are half way through the first week of Wimbledon and there's not been a spot of rain. Is this a first? It is not super hot, but the sun is shining and there is a gentle breeze in the air. English summer at its best...
I've always been intrigued by recipes for cooked lettuce. To me, the joy of lettuce is that it is crisp and fresh. Cooking it seems all wrong. I imagine something flabby and stringy and not even vaguely pleasant. You'd think that I'd leave it at that. But no. The idea has been playing on my mind lately. The recipes usually involve peas. And anything involving peas is good, is it not?
My curiosity got the better of me and so it was that I found myself braising some Little Gem lettuces on Sunday night.
What have I been missing all my life? It was superb. I'm totally unable to explain why soggy lettuce should taste good, but trust me; it does. Actually, it wasn't soggy at all. It retained a pleasing crunch. And it was perfect with a bit of simply grilled fish. This comes thoroughly recommended.
Braised Little Gems with Peas and Spring Onions
Serves 2 (easily halved, or doubled)
2 small Little Gem lettuces, outer leaves removed
1 mug of peas (frozen is fine)
5 spring onions
200ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1. Chop the lettuce into strips and the spring onions into thin slices.
2. Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and then add the spring onions. Fry until starting to soften. Add the lettuce and the peas and stir to coat in the buttery oniony juices.
3. Pour over the hot stock and bubble away for ten minutes or so. You want most of the liquid to evaporate (you can always pop a lid on the pan if it disappears too quickly).
4. Just before serving, add the creme fraiche and stir to combine. Heat through and season with pepper. Taste before adding any salt - the stock is usually pretty salty.