I hate to sound melodramatic, but lettuce and I are enemies. It’s not that I don’t like eating salad — I do — it’s that I never eat salad fast enough before my lettuce gets “weird”, as in “not technically inedible but kind of limp and not-so-fresh looking”. This makes me feel like a failure, and I hate failure. Luckily, Jenn Louis has a recipe specifically designed for not-quite-salad-worthy lettuce, and it’s called “lettuce jam”.
Photos by Claire Lower
Lettuce jam is not technically a “jam” — there’s no sugar and it isn’t boiled — but I’m not going to hold that against it. It takes takes imperfect leaves and combines them with tasty things like mustard, capers, shallots and cornichons for a spread that’s perfect when spread on sandwiches, smeared on grilled meats, or used as a dip.
It’s also pretty easy to make. Just cook down some lettuce for three to four minutes, until it looks like this:
Then sauté some shallots and chill everything on a plate until the vegetables are completely cold. While that’s in the fridge, pulse together a few cornichons, some good mustard, and capers (I was out of capers so I used olives and I’m comfortable with that).
Combine everything together in a food processor until smooth, then get to spreading. The great thing about lettuce jam is — like tofu before it — it pretty much tastes like whatever you put in it, so there’s a lot of room for customisation. Don’t have Dijon mustard? Use honey mustard, stone ground, or a combination. Want to throw a little garlic in there? I think you should. The lettuce is there to provide bulk and body, and also make you feel good about your choices. Everything feels a little more virtuous when it’s smothered in lettuce.
Lettuce Jam [Food52]