If your great-great-grandmother was French or British, she would have known how to braise lettuce. Although braised lettuce was once a rather common dish, it’s rarely seen in the twenty-first century. To me, the concept still has great appeal, but it’s best when the lettuce is cooked just until tender. Add sweet peas if you are making this in the spring or summer; otherwise, skip them and just add the herbs. Any kind of sturdy head will work for this dish: Little Gem or romaine lettuce is a good choice.
If using Little Gem lettuces, trim the bottoms and discard the tough outer leaves. Cut lengthwise in half, rinse briefly, and drain. If using romaine, cut the heads into quarters.
In a wide large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham, peas, and broth, and bring to a simmer. Add the lettuces in one layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Put on the lid and let steam for about 5 minutes, until the lettuce is tender.
Stir in the chopped parsley and mint.
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