Laitue, feminine noun (la laitue, une laitue, des laitues) = lettuce (pronounced lé-tu, no particular stress, no s heard in the plural).
Lettuce, the humble basic salad, but so delicious, especially when home grown and startlingly green, with slighly chewy leaves!
I can’t find a good expression using laitue to share with you, but panier à salade (literally salad basket or salad shaker) is a French phrase for the vehicles the French police use to arrest and cart people around in. Originally horse drawn, as they drove across the cobbled streets of Paris, they shook the inmates up thoroughly, hence the name. I believe in the US they were called Paddywagons, and in the UK Black Marias.
My recipe for today is crème de laitue, cream of lettuce soup. This is an excellent way of using the outside leaves of a lettuce, and indeed, can be made even if you do not have much in the fridge! It is also a light and tempting soup when you don’t really feel like eating a lot.
For 4 servings (cupfuls) you will need (don’t forget to look at my conversion table page):
- The outside leaves equivalent to half a large lettuce
- 200gr potato
- 30gr butter
- 500ml water
- 3/4 tsp coarse salt (gros sel)
- 100ml cream
- Remove, wash and chop roughly the required amount of lettuce leaves.
- Peel and cube the potato.
- Place the lettuce and the potato in a saucepan with the water, the butter and the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the cream and two or three twists of the pepper mill. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Mix smooth with a soup blender, but for a short time only. If potato is too mixed, it goes goopy.
I’m almost ashamed to give you something so simple to do! But then, good things don’t have to be complicated, do they?
The brilliant green colour and delicate aroma of this soup are really appetizing. So…