Why It Works
- Despite its mild flavor, lettuce makes a delicious and fresh-tasting soup.
- A small amount of parsley punches up the green color.
Lettuce isn't just good for salads; it makes shockingly delicious soup, too. Easy and quick to make, this silky-smooth soup is creamy (though it has no cream) and can be served hot or chilled.
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion (about 8 ounces; 225g), diced (see note)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 cups (475ml) homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 8 ounces (225g) lettuce, core and root ends trimmed, leaves torn if large (see note)
- 1/4 cup (1 small handful) loosely packed parsley leaves
- Kosher salt
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Thinly sliced radish and pea shoots, tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (see note)
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until foamy. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 8 minutes. Add lettuce and parsley and cook until wilted and softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Working in batches if necessary, transfer broth and vegetables to a blender and blend, starting at the lowest speed and increasing to high, until very smooth, about 3 minutes. If soup is too thick, thin as needed with additional stock. Season with salt and just a touch of lemon juice to brighten flavor (add it very sparingly to prevent soup from becoming tart). Garnish with radish and pea shoots (or other garnish) and serve warm or chilled.
This recipe works with many varieties of lettuce, including romaine, Bibb, oak leaf, arugula, and cress. I'd advise against iceberg because of its extreme lack of flavor. You can use shallots or leeks in place of or in combination with the onion. Feel free to change the garnish depending on what's available; diced crispy bacon and cherry tomatoes would be fun.