This delicious lettuce soup is based on a recipe from the Dutch cookbook ‘Oogst’ by Marleen van Es. A lovely book about seasonal vegetables from the kitchen garden, that even inspires those without one (including me).
This soup made the cover and immediately grabbed my attention, because thus far, I had never made soup from lettuce before. Turns out I was missing something, because the slightly sweet and at the same time bitter taste of this often overlooked vegetable works remarkably well in a soup. A little touch of cream is all you need to turn this into such a comforting, but still very light lettuce soup that I will be making again and again.
I also loved the addition of the homemade pecorino croutons. You only need three ingredients and a few minutes to prepare these golden brown, crunchy cheese balls that are crazy addictive and add such a pleasant crunch. Make sure to bake some extra, because mine were gone in seconds!
for 4 bowls
1 large head of lettuce (about 250-400 g)
2 small tbsp (25 g) butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
1 1/3 cup (200 g) green peas
1 leaf fresh mint
½ cup (125 ml) cream
extra: (stick) blender
for the croutons:
1.41 oz (40 g) pecorino cheese, grated
3 tbsp (20 g) flour
1 tbsp olive oil
extra: baking pan, lined with baking paper
Separate the leaves of the lettuce and wash them thoroughly. Shake excess water off.
Save some small leaves to garnish later (pat these dry first) and coarsely chop the rest.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently fry the shallot. Add the lettuce leaves and cook for a few minutes, until the leaves are wilted.
Add the stock, peas and mint and cook on low heat for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, continue with the croutons. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Mix the pecorino, flour and olive oil and shape into little balls, using your fingers. Place the croutons on the baking pan and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Add the cream to the soup and blend until you’ve got a creamy soup. Season to taste and divide over four bowls.
Garnish with the little lettuce leaves, cheese croutons and some extra fresh mint.