15 May 2012

Braised (gasp!) Lettuce

transplants - before becoming full heads of lettuce and before getting cooked
I have cooked lettuce. It feels almost sacrilegious to have done so. Like a desecration of all that is sacred about spring and early harvests and newness and freshness and rawness. Perhaps. But alas, I have done it. Only one week into our CSA season and I'm cooking lettuce. Blasphemy!

But here's my rationale: There was a LOT of beautiful lettuce at Badseed on Friday. But I'd already gotten two beautiful heads from my CSA share last week. So even if I eat a salad every day - sometimes twice a day - I can only consume so much raw lettuce at a time. But (I thought) if I find a recipe for cooking lettuce then I can justify buying even more of it at the farmers market!

And that's just what I did.

The sweet little heads of lettuce at Badseed seemed like they'd be perfect for cooking as they reminded me somewhat of the "little gems" I saw Nigella Lawson cook in her Forever Summer series (Best Cooking Show Ever, BTW, IMHO). So I snatched up three of them to cook knowing that I'd have plenty of lettuce from Fair Share Farm - and "spice on spice" mix from The Herb'n Gardener (arugula and tiny mustard greens and sometimes kale) - to give me salad all week.

I found a version of Nigella's Little Gems recipe but opted instead for this Braised Lettuce and Peas recipe. And I'm pleased to report that it was delicious.

Braised Lettuce and Peas
• 1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
• 3 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced - I used skinny little leeks from the CSA share
• 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 medium heads butter lettuce, washed, core removed, leaves halved and thinly sliced crosswise (Boston or bibb) - I used two small heads of heirloom lettuce from Badseed - can't remember the variety name
• 2 cups frozen baby peas
• 3 tablespoons greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)

Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add shallots, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top and cook until raw taste is gone, about 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a boil. Stir in lettuce and peas, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lettuce and peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt or sour cream, if using. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve.

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