So, Mom said that the lettuce in the garden is old and overgrown – though it looked just fine to me, certainly better than any lettuce from the store… anyway, we decided to cook it.
That is not as unusual as it sounds. Julia Child cooked lettuce, and so did Apicius, in ancient Rome. Auguste Escoffier, the father of modern French fine dining, offers recipes in “Ma Cuisine” (1934) for sauteed, braised or stuffed lettuce. Even today, cooked lettuce is popular in both China and France.
It’s too hot to bake, so I decided to braise my lettuce. Braising is cooking in fat first, then simmering briefly. We had meat yesterday and eggs the day before, so I decided to cook some white beans.
Here’s the recipe. it turned out really delicious!
Braised lettuce with radishes & sugar snap peas
1/3 cup small white beans (such as Navy)
1 Tablespoon butter
4 garlic scapes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head lettuce (any kind – I used leaf)
2 – 3 Tablespoons white wine
3 or 4 radishes
1 dozen snap peas
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Cook beans until tender, or have ready 1 cup leftover beans or canned beans. Set aside.
In large skillet, melt the butter over low heat to coat the bottom. Dice onion and slice scapes; add; sprinkle with salt & pepper, cover and cook 10 – 20 minutes while you prepare the other veggies.
Wash lettuce; shred coarsely. Slice stems, and add to skillet with onions & garlic. Set leaves aside to drain..
Cut root ends off radishes; string peas. Slice radishes thin and cut the peas in half on the diagonal. Set aside.
Drain lettuce; add to the skillet with the onions and saute briefly, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with wine. Cover and cook 5 – 10 minutes, until wilted. Add radishes, peas, cooked beans and feta and cook 3 – 5 minutes.
While vegetables are cooking, stir flour into creme fraiche (I use a fork). Add liquid from skillet. Stir mixture back into the skillet and cook to thicken sauce.
I served this over pasta. I think you could also use chicken breast in lieu of the beans.