Don’t underestimate the humble lettuce! These Four Ways with Lettuce are sure to leave you feeling inspired.
Four Ways with Lettuce
1. Steamed Clams with Lettuce in Ginger Broth Recipe
Rinse 1 kg small clams in a colander under cold running water. Bring 3 cups of water to the boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat, then add 1⁄2 cup medium-dry sherry; a 4cm piece of fresh ginger that has been peeled, thinly sliced, and cut into very thin matchsticks; 1⁄4 cup sliced coriander stems; 1 bunch coarsely chopped spring onions (white and pale green parts only); and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Return to the boil. Add the clams and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes, or until the shells open wide. (Discard any clams that are unopened after 5 minutes.) Wash and separate the leaves of a small iceberg lettuce, then shred. Place a small amount of lettuce in each of six shallow bowls. Divide the steamed clams between the bowls using tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a paper towel set over a bowl. Leave any silt in the bottom of the saucepan. Ladle the strained broth into the serving bowls. Top with coriander leaves to serve. Serves 6.
2. Mussel Fritters with Lettuce & Jalapeño Mayonnaise Recipe
Heat 3 cups of stock in a large saucepan, add sliced lemongrass and coriander roots and bring to the boil. Drop 24 mussels into the pan and steam until they’ve just opened. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Roughly chop the mussel flesh, then add to 250g cooked starchy potato, 1 finely chopped onion, 1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce and 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise. Bind together with 100g panko breadcrumbs, season to taste and then form into small balls about the size of a walnut. Dust each ball in plain flour, then dip in egg wash and coat in panko breadcrumbs. Shallow-fry the fritters until golden brown. Shred a whole buttercrunch lettuce very finely with a sharp knife. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste. Divide the shredded leaves among 4-6 bowls and top with the mussel fritters. Serve with jalapeño mayonnaise, made by blending 4 egg yolks with 2 tsp mustard, 2 tbsp chives, 1⁄4 cup sliced jalapeño chillies and the juice of 1 lemon. Season to taste, drizzle in 50ml olive oil to emulsify. Serves 4-6.
3. Braised Minted Cos Hearts & Peas- Petits Pois à la Française Recipe
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a heavy-based, flat saucepan or sauté pan. Add 1 finely chopped small onion, and cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, or until just softened. Add 1⁄2 cup finely chopped mint leaves. Remove any damaged outer leaves from 2 small, round cos lettuces, then place on a chopping board and cut in half through the core. Cut each half into wedges, leaving a piece of core to help keep the leaves together. Place the lettuce wedges on top of the onion and add 450g shelled fresh peas (or the same amount of thawed frozen peas) and 3-4 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook the lettuce and peas over a low heat until the peas are tender – fresh peas will take 10-20 minutes, frozen peas about 10 minutes. Serve with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt, and plenty of fresh mint leaves. Serves 4-6.
4. Lettuce Wraps with Hummus, Avocado & Cucumber Recipe
Arrange 5-6 large washed iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves on top of a sushi mat or a large piece of baking paper. Once arranged, the lettuce leaves should make a rectangle that measures about 23 x 26cm. Spread the lettuce leaves with 1⁄2 cup pumpkin hummus, then top with a layer of 1⁄2 cup pita crisps (you can also use thin strips of cooked chicken or smoked fish), 1⁄2 cup sprouts, and slices of avocado and cucumber. Then add a few more spoonfuls of hummus on top of the fillings. Sprinkle over a few pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs. (It’s a good idea to put the heavier ingredients at the bottom and rest the lighter items on top.) Using the baking paper or sushi mat as a guide, tightly roll the lettuce over the fillings. Tuck the ends of the lettuce over the sides to encase all the filling. Continue to roll the lettuce wrap, keep everything as tight as possible. When the lettuce is completely rolled, wrap a piece of baking paper around the outside of the lettuce. Use a serrated knife to slice through the centre at an angle. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to eat. Serves 2.