One of the biggest ways I am trying to control our food budget is by not wasting anything. Far to much food is wasted in our country (and in my kitchen). Money aside, I feel that food rotting away in my fridge is not the best management of my resources, and I am on a mission to cut down waste. But sometimes that takes a little more thought and knowledge to do. For example, what do you do with wilted lettuce? Lettuce that is so wilted that even a plunge in a bath of ice cold water won’t revive?
If you are at all like me, one day you are going to find that that beautiful head of lettuce you bought from the farmer’s market earlier in the week, unwashed and wilted in the fridge. This is exactly what happened to me and I loathed the thought of wasting it. But then……I remembered.
Lettuce Soup! I looked up a few recipes, and (like always) using the general principles, came up with my own version. This must be one of the cheapest soups to make, and it is very good!
Quite frankly, we were amazed at how good this tasted. I was concerned that it would be bland, so I included fresh herbs and a bit of vinegar to give it a nice punch of flavor. It worked! The potatoes make it creamy without any cream, and the greens give a beautiful dark green color. My husband was so surprised at how flavorful it was, even without broth. This one is definitely going into the keeper pile. I think I will make it with fresh lettuce too (not just wilted!).
The amusing thing about this soup is that it has many of the same ingredients that you would put in fresh salad- lettuce, onions, garlic, oil, herbs and vinegar. I guess they are flavors made for each other!
Tangy and Herbed Lettuce Soup
You can certainly use whatever herbs you like. You can also use the outer, tougher leaves from romaine lettuce instead of a whole head. You just want about the amount of one head of lettuce. This would also be delicious with a bit of cream to finish it off, or served with a dollop of creme freshe or sour cream. Lemon juice would be another option instead of the vinegar. The balsamic adds richness, and a sweet tang. The lemon juice would a more bright tartness.
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced a minute or two
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head of lettuce, washed and cut into thin slices
5 cups of water (0r broth)
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onions and sprinkle with a little salt, reduce heat to medium and saute until onions become translucent. Then add the garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two.
Add the water and potatoes and some salt and pepper. . If you have thick, tougher lettuce leafs add now as well. If you have thinner, tender lettuce, simmer for ten minutes, then add. At this point, simmer for about another 7 minutes, then add fresh basil. Simmer until everything is soft and add vinegar. and blend in a blender or with a hand blender. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.