Braised Lettuce on Anchovy Toast
For this braised lettuce — especially ambrosial if, as suggested here, a discreet anchovy or 10 are permitted — everything is fast and minimal. Put thin wedges of lettuce to quickly and lightly wilt in warm butter and broth and spoon it over hot bread. That’s all.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1large head romaine lettuce — or two smaller ones
- 18anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
- ½garlic clove, pounded to a paste with a little bit of salt
- 7tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 6pieces rustic bread, about 3 inches by 2 inches, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
- ¼cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- Zest of half a lemon
Step 1Remove the outer leaves from the romaine, saving them for soup. Trim the stem, leaving it intact and leaves connected. Cut the head into 6 thin wedges, each wedge connected at the core/stem.
Step 2Make anchovy butter by pounding the anchovies to a paste with the garlic paste, then mashing in 4 tablespoons butter. Combine well.
Step 3Toast the bread.
Step 4Warm a pan large enough to fit all of the lettuce wedges. Add remaining butter. Once it has melted, add the stock, and fit the romaine wedges closely into the pan in a single layer. Salt lightly. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, and turn all the wedges to another side. Salt again, and scatter with lemon zest. Continue to cook, turning once or twice more, until the liquid in the pan is absorbed and the lettuce is very wilted on the leaf end and tender on the stem end. Turn off heat.
Step 5In the pan or on a cutting board, cut each wedge once or twice horizontally.
Step 6Spread each piece of toast thickly with anchovy butter, then top with the sections of a wedge of lettuce. Sprinkle each lightly with salt again, if desired. Serve hot.