Lettuce à l’Espagnole

Laitue à l’Espagnole


Wash the lettuce well in plenty of cold water, take off the outer leaves, the best of which can be kept for soup. Put the lettuce in cold water with a little salt, when the water comes to the boil take up the lettuce and rinse it well in cold water, put it on a sieve to drain, then tie it up with string. Put about two ounces of good butter in a stewpan with a carrot cut lengthways, also an onion sliced and a bunch of herbs, such as a sprig of thyme, parsley, and bayleaf tied up, about six peppercorns, a few pieces of fat bacon and two cloves. Arrange the lettuce on the vegetables, and then cut a paper to fit the stewpan. Butter the paper and put it over the vegetables, put the cover on the pan and let it fry gently for about fifteen or twenty minutes, then add about a quarter of a pint of stock and place the pan in the oven. The lettuce should be frequently basted on the top (just tilt the stewpan and take the gravy up with a spoon and drop it on the lettuce); let all braise with the stock for about one hour, then take up, and if the lettuce is a good size it may be cut in four pieces lengthways, then just flatten and turn the ends over so as to make the lettuce about two and a half or three inches long, glaze them lightly over and dish them on croûtons fried a pale golden colour, and cut in the shape of a kite. Dish up straight down the dish. The gravy from the braise to be strained and the fat removed, then boiled up. If the gravy tastes strong just add a pinch of castor sugar. Pour this round the lettuce and serve with four little bunches of crisply fried ham or bacon arranged round the dish in bunches. Cut the bacon in small dice shapes, put them in a sauté pan and fry till crisp, then put into a strainer and drain off the fat. Lightly sprinkle it with a little chopped parsley and use at once.