Thursday, July 12, 2007
The League of Lettuce meant that our kitchen looked like an allotment. At this stage, presenting a raw salad might have prompted a revolt so our first recipe involved cooking a lettuce. It seemed a little inappropriate to cook something that looks perfect fresh and raw. I opened a 1936 edition of Au Petit Cordon Bleu with recipes by Rosemary Hume and Dione Lucas: two of the greatest female chefs and cookery writers. We used four round lettuces which seemed like far too much lettuce but after boiling them and drying them, the poor things shrank. The end result was good enough to be a complete meal. The lettuces are cooked slowly and take on the flavour of the bacon. Freddie gave it 8 out of 10. Here is our recipe, adapted from Au Petit Cordon Bleu.
4 Round lettuces
8 rashes of unsmoked back bacon
1 medium onion
100 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp double cream or crème fraiche
Salt and pepper to season
Discard the outer leaves of the lettuce. Put the four lettuce in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, turn off the heat, take out the lettuces and drain. Carefully dry with a cloth, taking care not to ruin their shape. Lightly grease a casserole dish and lay the bacon rashes across the bottom. Finely dice the carrot and onion and put on top of the bacon. Lay the lettuce top-down on the bacon. Pour the vegetable stock on top. Put the lid on and cook in a preheated oven for 40 minutes at 180C. When cooked, remove dish from the oven. Place the lettuce and bacon on a serving dish. Pour the remaining stock and vegetables into a pan and place on the hob on a medium heat. Reduce the stock and stir in the cream. Pour over the lettuce and serve.