A bit of a strange one this month, but there are so many types of Lettuce that I thought I would highlight them and show you what can be cooked with them, other than using them in salads! Lettuce can be used to wrap things up, which I find is great as I can’t have bread. You can decorate with its green colour or flavour and it is actually very nice cooked. Below, one or two of the recipes are a little involved, but well worth the extra work and ingredients. Why not try a new Lettuce as there are many varieties in the shops and see how they taste very different?

Buen Apetito

Steak Lettuce Wrap with Chilli Sauce

4 sirloin steaks

20-25 any Lettuce leaves 

4 spring onions, sliced

2 sweet red peppers, sliced

2 heads of Butter Lettuce leaves


3 garlic cloves, grated

5 tbsp cooking sake

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

5 tbsp olive oil

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp chilli paste

2 tbsp white sesame paste, or tahini

5 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp apple vinegar

Whisk all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Marinate the steaks in this mixture for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. To make the dipping sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Remove the steaks from the marinade, but leave some sauce on them. Fry in a searing hot pan with a little oil for about 2 minutes each side for medium-rare, or grill over hot coals until cooked as desired. Rest the steaks for 5 minutes on some kitchen paper, then cut into 2-3cm chunks. Serve with the Lettuce Leaves, peppers, spring onions and dipping sauce on the side. 

Pork Larb Salad 

70g long-grain white rice

1 tsp vegetable oil

500g minced pork

300ml chicken stock

3 lime leaves

4 sticks lemongrass, finely chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp caster sugar

3 banana/regular shallots, very finely sliced

Juice of 2 limes, plus a little extra

6 tbsp fish sauce

A large bunch of coriander, roots and leaves separated, roots chopped

A large bunch of mint, leaves picked

1 large Iceberg Lettuce or 1 Chinese leaf cabbage, leaves separated

A couple of crushed dried chillies, to serve

A bowl of Hoisin Sauce, to serve

Dry-toast the rice in a frying pan for a few minutes, stirring until it starts turning golden and smells nutty. Grind to a fine powder. Stir-fry the pork in oil over a medium-high heat for a few minutes, breaking it up with a spoon before adding the stock, lime leaves, lemongrass, chillies, sugar and half the shallots. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, breaking up the pork into tiny crumbs. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and rice powder, then stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, lime juice or fish sauce. Stir in the rest of the shallots and the coriander roots. Serve the pork in the middle of the table alongside bowls of picked mint and coriander leaves, chilies and sauce. Use the Lettuce leaves to make a pork wrap with all the trimmings.

Roasted Little Gems

3 heads of Little Gem Lettuce, outer leaves removed and cut into quarters through the stem

Extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

A sprig of thyme, leaves removed

200-250g fresh porcini mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, cut into 5mm slices

Salt and black pepper

A squeeze of lemon juice

A handful of flat-leaf parsley, washed and chopped

12 slices of Prosciutto or Parma ham

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Place the quarters of Little Gem into a shallow sided roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil and season. Place in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly golden on the outside, but still with some crunch in the middle. Fry the chopped garlic and thyme leaves in 2 tbsp oil over a high heat. As it becomes sticky, but before it starts to colour, add the porcini, cook for a few minutes, then turn over and colour the other side. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley. Place 3 pieces of the roasted Little Gem on each plate, drape the Prosciutto or Parma ham through the Little Gem and divide the porcini between the plates. Eat immediately.

Baked Hake With Lettuce and Artichoke Gratin

2 fillets of skinless hake 

Salt and black pepper

½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt and black pepper

½ glass white wine

For the gratin

1 large or 2 small Romaine Lettuce, stalks removed and cut into 2cm slices

1 small leek, thickly sliced

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper

100g frozen or fresh peas, cooked

½ tin or jar of marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

A small handful of parsley, finely chopped

A large handful of fresh breadcrumbs

Zest of 1 lemon

50g walnuts, toasted

30g pecorino or Spanish Manchego

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Season the hake fillets well with salt and black pepper. Place the Lettuce and leek in a small roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil. Season, then bake for 20 minutes until the leek has softened and the Lettuce has wilted. Stir through the peas, artichokes and herbs, then drizzle with a little of the oil from the artichoke jar. Once the Lettuce is in the oven, place the finely sliced fennel in the centre of a large sheet of parchment or foil, then top with the fish, garlic and lemon zest. Pour over the wine, loosely seal the parcel by scrunching the top together, then bake for 20 minutes, until the fish is firm and opaque and the fennel has softened. Keep the parcel warm while you finish the gratin. Whizz the breadcrumbs and walnuts in a blender until fine but still with a little texture. Stir in the pecorino and lemon zest, then scatter over the dish. Switch the oven to grill and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden on top, then serve with the hake.

Lettuce Soup

1 tblsp butter 

1 small onion, minced 

200g lettuce leaves 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

300ml vegetable stock 

Chopped fresh mint & parsley to taste 

1 egg yolk 

300ml milk 

1 tblsp double cream 

In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion. Cook and stir until soft. Add the Lettuce and cook over a gentle heat for about 12 minutes. Season and add the stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée the soup in a blender or using a hand-held liquidiser. Return to the pan and bring to the boil adding in the herbs. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the milk. Add a ladle of the hot soup and whisk again. Add this to the hot soup and stir well. Return to the heat to thicken. To serve, stir in the double cream and season again if desired.