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 braised romaine lettuce (also called cos), 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! Braised lettuce 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
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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.