I SERVED THIS GARDEN-FRESH SOUP for the first-course at a small dinner party last Saturday. The soup was a big hit. I know it was a big hit, because my partner Will and our guests Robert and David all asked for seconds. And then they asked for thirds.
Folks, can we all agree that when a dinner guest asks for thirds, he or she is not merely being polite?
Good. I’m glad we’ve settled this little issue.
Here’s the recipe for this lettucy, basily, lemony brew that I hope you will make for your next summertime dinner party:
Meanwhile, run out to your garden (or to your farmers market or supermarket), and grab each of the following:
Yes, that’s the correct way to use a lemon-squeezing gadget. You place the lemon half flesh-side down. I learned this the hard way.
You can serve the soup hot or warm, but in summertime, you’ll find it is at its gastronomical best when served cold from the fridge.
True Confession: I forgot to garnish the servings at last week’s dinner party. No one seemed to care.
And why didn’t they care?
Because the soup is utterly delicious as is! I served mine along with a crusty baguette, and plentiful goblets of cold Pinot Grigio.
And here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:
Lettuce and Basil Soup
Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
2 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into medium-small chunks
2 large (or 3 medium) cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
5 cups unsalted chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 head romaine lettuce, the leaves separated and rinsed
40-50 large basil leaves
6 sprigs of flat-leaved parsley, the leaves removed (discard stems)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 5 grinds of black pepper
The juice of 1 lemon
Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream, and creme fraiche and thin strips of basil and/or lemon zest for garnish
Special Equipment: a 4-5 quart pot with a lid; a stick blender or a food processor or regular blender for pureeing the soup
1. Put the potato and the garlic in the pot, and cover with the 4 cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock. Cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes are perfectly tender — about 30 minutes.
2. Add the lettuce to the pot, pushing it down into the liquid to insure the leaves wilt. Add the basil and parsley leaves, and stir them around until they wilt. Remove the pot from the heat.
3. Pour the remaining stock into the pot. Puree until smooth.
4. Stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and the optional cream. Then chill the soup for several hours or overnight.
To serve, garnish each serving with a dollop of creme fraiche. For further decoration, you can add thin strips of basil and/or lemon zest.
Folks, do me proud and make this soup, okay? I promise you will love it.
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