Aaron Bertelsen’s lettuce soup

This lettuce soup is a wonderful way to use up the outer leaves and ribs of lettuce that might not make it into a salad. It is also very adaptable – use whatever salad leaves and herbs you have to hand. It is great for lunch or as a starter – especially before a fish dish.

lettuce soup
Andrew Montgomery

SERVES 4

PREP TIME 10 MINUTES 

COOK TIME 30 MINUTES

 40g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato (about 200g), peeled and diced
salt and pepper
600ml vegetable or chicken stock
300g lettuce, or mixed salad leaves and herbs – such as basil, parsley, chervil, rocket – washed, dried and
coarsely chopped

freshly picked herbs, to garnish

1. Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the onion and cook gently over a low heat until thoroughly softened (about 8 minutes). Don’t skimp on this step – the onion must be mellow and sweet or it will fight with the relatively delicate flavours of the salad leaves and herbs. 

2. Add the potato, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat in the melted butter. Add the stock, bring up to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the potato is soft. 

3. Add the lettuce (and herbs, if using), bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for 1 minute or until all wilted down. 

4. Use a stick blender or food processor to blitz the soup until it is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. To serve, ladle the lettuce soup into warmed soup bowls and garnish with freshly picked herbs. 

Growing lettuce

I love to sow packets of mixed salad seeds – they are perfect for a shallow trough or pot. There are so many varieties available now that it is just a case of experimenting and finding something you like for both flavour and appearance – different combinations can be displayed to great effect. Look for a packet that contains a range, of seeds – for instance, chicory, mustard, rocket or even Asian greens such as mizuna, pak choi or tatsoi, which give maximum flavour and visual interest.

Buy Aaron’s fabulous new book with a 20 per cent discount

Grow Fruit and Vegetables in Pots: Planting Advice and Recipes from Great Dixter will be published by Phaidon Press Ltd on 7 February, price £24.95. To order a copy for £19.95 with free p&p until 2 March call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk.