Cream of Lettuce with Poached Eggs

This next dish is more of a purée than a soup. If you can only get iceberg lettuce, add a little flat-leaf parsley or spinach when you cook it, to enhance both colour and flavour.

Ingredients

  • 2 large green lettuces, not lollo, or oak-leaf; Cos or Webb would be excellent
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 750 mls ( pints) vegetable stock, or 500 mls (18 oz) water and 250 mls (9 oz) dry white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 200 g (7 oz) créme fraiche
  • 4 free-range eggs

Method

Remove any damaged part of the lettuces, cut off the root end, and rinse and drain thoroughly. Take off all the leaves, and wilt them in the butter in a saucepan. Add the liquid and a little seasoning, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the nutmeg and cream, and cook for 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, carefully poach the eggs in a large saucepan of water, salted or not, acidulated or not, as you prefer, for 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

Blend the soup until smooth. Reheat, and serve in heated soup plates with a poached egg in each. You can garnish with shreds of cured ham or smoked salmon if you wish.

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