Braised Romaine Lettuce

Braised Romaine (Cos) Lettuce

Who knew you could cook lettuce? It’s a revelation to many Aussies, but a traditional side dish in much of Europe. Italians love grilled radicchio and sauteed escarole (curly endive), while the French like to braise cos lettuce (also called romaine), often adding tiny new season spring peas (petits pois). You could add a little diced speck or pancetta for a heartier dish too. With or without speck, I particularly enjoy braised lettuce as a side dish with any roasted or poached chicken; add a glass of Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier for a delicious lunch or dinner! This is a great way to use the stock leftover from poaching chicken in dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice or Steeped Chicken with Spicy Slaw.

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients
  • 2 baby cos lettuce (see FAQ below)
  • 25g butter
  • 2 golden shallots, finely diced
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 200ml chicken stock
Method
  1. Cut the lettuces into quarters lengthways and trim off the very ends, ensuring there’s enough left to hold the leaves together.
  2. Rinse to remove any grit then shake gently to remove excess water.
  3. Melt butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat.
  4. Add shallot and a good pinch of salt, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, until tender and just starting to colour.
  5. Increase heat to high, arrange lettuce in the pan, cut side down in a single layer.
  6. Add stock and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Turn the lettuce over so that the other cut side is in contact with the pan and cook for a further 3-5 minutes, until the thickest part of the stems is just tender.
  9. Transfer lettuce to a serving dish and liquid to a small saucepan.
  10. Boil liquid for about 10 minutes, until reduced to a saucy consistency.
  11. Taste, add salt and pepper, pour over lettuce and serve.

Like this recipe? You’ll love A Month of French Inspired by Damien Pignolet!

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FAQ


Cos lettuce is known as romaine lettuce in North America and occasionally also called Manchester or Roman lettuce. Baby cos is sometimes sold as gem lettuce or little gem.

Many sources say the name cos comes from the Greek island of Kos, where this variety of lettuce first grew. However other sources link the name to the Arabic word for lettuce, khas or khus.