Butter Lettuce, one of the simplest of Summer greens is pureed with chicken stock, low-fat ricotta cheese and tender potatoes. Then, rather than ordinary bread croutons, lighten things up with pure blocks of sliced cucumber, to act as a 'crouton'. Lower in calories, gluten-free and frankly more elegant.
CHILLED LETTUCE SOUP with CUCUMBER 'CROUTONS': Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan, and add 6 scallions, white part only, finely sliced. Sauté until softened. Add 8 new potatoes, peeled and diced to pan, stir well, then add 7 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. Add 1 pound of Boston or Butter lettuce to the pan, and stir until it is wilted. Remove from heat, and allow it to cool until no longer steaming. Using a blender and, working in batches, purée soup until it is smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, and add 1/3 cup good quality low-fat ricotta and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth, and adjust ricotta and salt as needed. If soup is to be served chilled (it may be served at room temperature), cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with diced pieces of Cucumber 'croutons'. Serves 6-8.
This recipe was inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe that appeared in Australian Delicious magazine. (November 2006).