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Cooking w/Lettuce!????

s
sasha1 May 12, 2009 10:06 AM

Hi everyone. I'd love ideas/feedback/recipes for cooking with lettuce, if anyone has had luck with it. The only recipe with which I'm familiar is a grilled romaine caesar.

I've got a big tub of mixed greens (got it at Costco, then no one felt like salad all week) about to go bad. Given how greens wilt when cooked, maybe I can use them up in a single recipe without having to throw them away.

Does anyone think a simple lettuce soup, made with lettuce and chicken broth, then blended up, would be any good?

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  1. DanaB May 12, 2009 10:19 AM

    Julia Child has a braised lettuce recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, although it calls for head lettuce rather than loose leaves. It's a detailed recipe, but basically it calls for blanching the lettuce and and then braising it with onion, carrot, butter, bacon, stock, and herbs (inluding parsley, thyme and bayleaf).

    Are your greens baby greens? If so, the Julia recipe would probably decimate them. I'd probably try sauteeing them with garlic in oil, like you might with fresh spinach, and serving them as a cooked vegetable side dish.

    Or, you could try making a variation on a wilted spinach salad. Here's a recipe:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanaB
      s
      sasha1 May 12, 2009 10:22 AM

      Yep, baby mixed greens.

    2. Botch May 12, 2009 10:29 AM

      I think a blended lettuce soup would be great, maybe finished with a little butter and cream. Also, unblended is great in light chinese soups, like wonton or scallop soups. Just put it (chopped roughly) at the bottom of the serving bowl and ladle the hot soup over.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Botch
        milkytea May 12, 2009 12:45 PM

        I find that something like romaine works better in broths (or with ramen), since it stays a little crunchy.

        1. re: Botch
          c
          cheesecake17 May 12, 2009 05:39 PM

          Barefoot Contessa makes a soup with roasted veggies and leftover salad greens. The vinegar in the dressing adds a tanginess to the soup.

        2. greygarious May 12, 2009 10:48 AM

          Jacques Pepin says he often puts wilting lettuce in soup. I think your soup idea sounds fine, maybe add some cream or yogurt at the end. Or stir fry some firmer vegetables like julienned carrots, onion, etc., and stir in the lettuce at the end, with soy sauce. Or chop the lettuce ultra-fine and use it for tuna salad instead of celery. A sub shop near me makes their tuna salad that way, and it's a good one.

          2 Replies
          1. re: greygarious
            paulj May 12, 2009 11:05 AM

            Jacques also recommends a classic French preparation of peas and lettuce. Shredded Romain may be best for this, but mixed greens might work.

            1. re: paulj
              MMRuth May 12, 2009 07:23 PM

              I love braised peas and lettuce - I usually use Bibb/Boston lettuce.

          2. w
            weezycom May 12, 2009 12:28 PM

            I like to make lettuce fried rice. Just any basic fried rice recipe with the lettuce thrown in at the end with a handful of mung bean sprouts (the texture seems to fool the mind into the thinking the lettuce is still a bit crunchy) and stir-fried until just wilted.

            1. s
              scunge May 12, 2009 12:46 PM

              I do it often with Asian style soups along with some sesame and or chili oils ,oyster sauce etc or to noodle dishes .Any lettuce works for me and lotsof it

              1. ChefJune May 12, 2009 12:55 PM

                One of my favorite Spring dishes is a ragout of lettuce (romaine), baby artichokes and peas. It's ethereal.

                1. Father Kitchen May 12, 2009 04:28 PM

                  Pepin again. A recent broadcast of his program (on PBS I think), featured a vegetable soup that contained lettuce. No chicken broth--just good vegetables. It's slightly bitter flavor ought to be a terrific foil to the sweeter flavors of carrots, peas, and onions.

                  1. Rmis32 May 12, 2009 05:53 PM

                    Mark Bittman's "A Touch of Elegance" Lettuce-Wrapped Fish
                    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

                    1. Pata_Negra May 13, 2009 06:00 AM

                      i've crisscrossed China 3 times [last 3 consecutive years] and had stir-fried lettuce countless times. they just quickly stir fry it with fat/oil and garlic, most probably msg is used. served as a side.

                      1. b
                        berbadeerface May 13, 2009 06:18 AM

                        I was working for a catering company last year and we had 2 cases of bibb lettuce leftover from an event. It was going to go bad so I made a lettuce soup with milk and chicken stock. Everyone loved it. I can't remember exactly what I put in there, but I think there was some nutmeg, and maybe some lemon zest. SHould work ok with mixed greens.

                        1. scuzzo May 13, 2009 06:31 AM

                          Iceberg sauted and pureed with chicken stock makes a GREAT soup! If your lettuce mix includeds green and red or purple leaves, blending them will turn out grey. Sage is great with cooked lettuce.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: scuzzo
                            s
                            sasha1 May 13, 2009 09:11 AM

                            I didn't even think of that - thanks! I may make a little test batch of soup out of the red leaves to see how it goes.

                            1. re: sasha1
                              p
                              pâté chinois May 13, 2009 10:43 AM

                              Personnally, if I made that kind of soup just for us (i.e. not for company) i would not care whether it turns grey-ish, especially if I knew I just made a healthy soup. But I'm known for my yucky-brown soups, so... ;-)

                          2. s
                            sasha1 May 13, 2009 11:10 AM

                            I just made the soup. I sauteed some onions and carrots in butter, then simmered them in some chicken broth for 10 minutes. Threw in about 1/2 the large container of mixed baby greens (it was too much work to split the red and green apart), simmered another 10 minutes. Salt pepper. In the blender, then added a touch of full fat milk.

                            I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It's quite tasty. As long as my husband agrees (at dinner time), I'll make another batch with the rest of the salad.

                            Thanks to all for the ideas. The fried rice is sounding good too, but I don't have leftover rice currently. Soon though...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sasha1
                              scuzzo May 13, 2009 03:08 PM

                              Thanks for reporting back. I think lettuce makes delicious soup! I rarely buy iceberg, but it does make good soup! I made mine thick. It was deceptively hearty for lettuce and chicken stock.

                              I've been making grilled romain for Caesar salads. I'll bet grilled romaine would make a keiser-kicking soup! Note to self: must try! Oh, how about add chunks of chicken and top with croutons and parm...Caesar soup!

                              1. re: scuzzo
                                s
                                sasha1 May 13, 2009 07:04 PM

                                Btw, although I mixed green and red, it didn't turn out grey. Actually a very deep swampy green. The milk lightened it up a bit. Husband didn't like it. He said it reminded him too much of broccoli soup, which he doesn't like. Go figure.

                            2. m
                              MakingSense May 13, 2009 09:47 PM

                              We had a HUGE vat of salad left over from a big BBQ a few years ago and I couldn't bear to pitch it so I made a gazpacho-style cold soup with it.
                              Whizzed it in the food processor - with the dressing clinging to the salad - in small batches, added some tomatoes, and enough other veggies to balance it out.
                              I adjusted the seasoning and it really turned out good.
                              I've used this for leftover salad a few times since. Add a little V-8 or Clamato, and stick it in the food processor or hit with the stick blender.

                              1. blue room May 14, 2009 06:22 AM

                                My lettuce soup is chicken broth, chopped onion, lots of lettuce and-- a teaspoon of curry powder. Very nice!

                                1. r
                                  ricepad May 14, 2009 12:34 PM

                                  Since our CSA has been giving us a LOT of lettuces the last few weeks, I've been braising lettuce chinese-style. Take about half a pound of meat and marinate it in your favorite Asian marinade (home brew or store bought). Wash and pat (spin) dry the lettuce...about two medium-sized heads' worth. Bring a couple of tablespoons of oil to high heat in a big saute pan or wok, and stir fry the meat until it is just cooked. Remove the meat, and throw in the lettuce. Stir/toss (you'll probably have so much lettuce that it overflows the pan at first) carefully, until it *just* begins to wilt, then return the meat to the pan. Toss quickly to combine, and arrange it all on a serving platter or on a bed of rice.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ricepad
                                    scuzzo May 14, 2009 03:16 PM

                                    Sounds great!

                                  2. chef chicklet May 14, 2009 01:14 PM

                                    Seems that you have plenty of soup suggestions, I'll give you something different for what you have left.

                                    We love grilled seafood or chicken on greens. I use mixed baby greens and herbs or baby spinach,either work nicely.

                                    There is one salad that I make using a basic Asian plum sauce. I add a bit of sweet & hot chile sauce to the plum sauce, and then baste the shrimp or chicken breast scallops with the sauce, then grill. You can also pan cook the shrimp or chicken, you don't need a bbq.

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