Braised gem lettuce with Jersey Royals

by Anna Tobias

Ingredients

4 heads of baby gem lettuce
40g of unsalted butter
80g of button onion, peeled and left whole
100g of lardons
300g of Jersey Royal potatoes, or new potatoes
150ml of chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1/2 bunch of curly parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
lemon
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Remove the outer leaves of the little gems, split each head in half lengthways and swill around in water to wash them and encourage any grit to fall out 2 Scrub the Jersey Royals. If they are small, leave them whole. Cut any that are larger than a walnut in half 3 In a lidded pan that will hold the lettuces in one layer, melt 25g of the butter and brown the lardons. Once crisp, remove and set aside. In this fat, brown the button onions for a few minutes and then set aside 4 Very lightly brown the gem halves cut-side down in the fat. Turn over and tuck the Jersey Royals into the nooks and crannies. Season with salt and pepper. Strew over the onions and bacon and give the pan a little shake so everything nestles in together

5 Pour in enough stock to come a quarter of the way up the lettuce heads. Place the lid on top and bring to the boil. Once a rolling boil has been reached, lower the heat and cock the lid slightly, to allow some steam to release 6 Once the potatoes are cooked (about 20 minutes), take the pan off the heat and remove the ingredients with a slotted spoon to a serving dish. If the liquid remaining in the pan is a bit watery then boil rapidly until you have a nicely concentrated flavour. Whisk in the remaining butter and squeeze over some lemon juice 7 Pour the dressing on top of the lettuces and sprinkle with parsley

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