Well it’s definitely lettuce season again. The CSA has been supplying us with about three heads a week, and well, there are only so many salads a person can eat. So, we were inspired to try something new…lettuce soup. Even after reading though several recipes and many rave reviews, it was still hard to imagine exactly what we were in for. We hedged our bets by making some white bean “pate” spread to have with our CSA escarole and fresh bread, alongside. Even with the successful soup, this stole all our attention. Please try it!
The “pate” started last night with some freshly cooked canellini beans and this inspiration from the Times. We prettymuch followed the recipe, but without the carrot and just using lime juice and white pepper to season it. It baked up beautifully and we stored it in the fridge overnight as recommended. Even last night it was already super tasty!
ib also started some Bittman-recipe bread last night which did its first rise in the fridge overnight (giving it a little more time to rise than our last attempt). Each time we make it, it gets better! Maybe sometime we’ll even post a whole recipe with photos…
The escarole was prepared just with a quick sautee.1 tbsp olive oil 3 garlic scapes, diced one bunch escarole (maybe 2 cups?), cut into a chiffonade seasonings, we used red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper citrus
We started by sauteing the scapes and red pepper flakes and then added the escarole to cook just until it started to wilt (it will keep cooking a little in the bowl, too). Here we should have–and intended to–add some citrus, but we forgot. This was then served on slices of fresh baguette, smeared with “pate”, and topped with some of this escarole mix. For some of them we even tried adding some parmesan cheese. This combination of flavors and textures really blew me away, and yet I think there might still be room for improvement. I might try adding some anchovies to the escarole mix, or maybe spreading the beans and escarole on crackers to lighten it up a bit (when we don’t have fresh bread around, of course). No matter what, there’s a lot of room to play here, and I suspect that it’s also hard to screw this one up.
For the lettuce soup, we looked over several different recipes before landing on a version of a potage. It seems like most of these soups use peas, but we decided to stick with lettuce as the green flavor of our soup. Our recipe ended up something like this:2 tbsp butter 1/2 yellow onion, diced 3 garlic scapes, diced (or regular garlic)
seasonings, we used red pepper flakes and coriander
These were cooked together in the bottom of a stock pot until the onions were translucent.3 medium potatoes, cubed 6 cups broth, we used water and a spoon of better than bullion 2 heads of lettuce, chopped, we used two heads of green lettuce and a little spinach, too
The water and potato were added and brought to a boil. We let the potatoes cook for about ten minutes before adding the lettuce and spinach. The whole thing then cooked another ten minutes until the lettuce was very soft. At this point, we pureed the soup with our immersion blender. It left some green specs, so if that bothers you, pull out some of the broth before pureeing and add it back after the potatoes and lettuce puree smoothly. Finally, time to make it french…2 eggs, beaten seasonings, we only added salt at this point, i think
Add the soup, cup by cup, to the beaten eggs, slowly increasing their temperature. After a few cups, add this mixture back into the soup and heat the whole thing just until boiling. It should cause the soup to thicken slightly and really richen the flavors. At this point, you can adjust the seasonings to taste. If desired (and I recommend it) let the soup cool to room temperature before eating. (I actually added an ice cube to mine to bring down the temperature and didn’t even notice any problems with that diluting it too much or anything.)
Serve the soup with parmesan cheese or greek yogurt. And alongside our escarole crudites, this meal was deliciously fresh and green! These are the meals when we really appreciate our CSA share for inspiring our creativity.