Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CSA week ten - lettuce soup

I decided I really wasn't up for a cream soup this evening so of the two recipes I mentioned on Saturday I decided to go with this one with some modifications.

First off, I lightened it up a little by substituting in a tablespoon of olive oil for some of the butter. Of the three onion-esque choices it offered I, of course, went for scallions as I have plenty on hand. In retrospect, a tear-wateringly pungent onion would have added some welcome punch to the recipe. I also boosted the garlic and added a third cup or so of red pepper. Some of the lettuce soup recipes mentioned that red lettuce gives a nice dark green color to the soup and, as I was going to stick mainly to romaine, I thought the peppers might substitute as well as adding an extra note of flavor. The eight cups of lettuce called for was about one full head; I used my leftover romaine and greenleaf from the last couple weeks.

Most of the recipes used broth instead of the water this one calls for. I was unsure how much flavor the lettuce really was going to offer, so I used two cups of chicken broth as insurance.

I found the ten minutes of cooking time this recipe called for was plenty. You can see that that looks plenty cooked. I really can't imagine what the forty minutes called for in the newsletter recipe would do the a not-terribly hearty green like lettuce. If you try it, do let me know.

When I was blending it, I decided not to try to get it perfectly smooth as a little texture adds interest.

Finally, I made some croutons. Nothing fancy since I wanted the soup to stand up on its own if it could.

So how did it taste? Pretty much like spinach soup. Unlike spinach soup, however, I found that the greens flavor intensified as it cooled. Hot, it was disappointingly thin and weak, but at room temperature the lettuce really started pulling its weight amongst the other ingredients making the taste come together into a pleasing whole. Using the chicken broth was a good idea; I don't think the lettuce could have made it on its own.

Now that I've got a basic idea of how the recipe works I'm curious if I could make a presentable caesar or cobb salad soup. I'll bet caesar salad soup would work. I found one recipe for it on line but it takes major liberties with the concept. Watch this space.

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