Celtuce a Deux

Celtuce in two styles

We first had this incredible vegetable at Michel Bras in Laguiole, France. Celtuce is being introduced in specialty vegetable markets in the US, and we're thrilled about that! Sometimes called celery lettuce or asparagus lettuce, it is actually in the lettuce family, producing leaves that resemble romaine lettuce. But, it is the large stalk that grows in its center that is the main attraction. Peeled, blanched and sauteed, it tastes somewhat like asparagus. We love it and hope you will too, when it becomes available in your area.
2 stalks celtuce (approx. 1” diameter at base), top leaves still attached
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic
½ lemon, juice only
1 Trim celtuce: Slice off bottom of each stalk. Remove large outer leaves from top, then slice off the top, so that the leaves are left joined in a bunch. Set aside. With a vegetable peeler, remove outer white layer of stalk. Slice stalk lengthwise into 2 pieces.

2 Bring water to boil in large non-reactive frying pan. Add salt, then add celtuce stalk pieces and blanch 10-15 minutes, until just tender. Drain. (Can be done to this point up to 4 hours ahead.)

3 In same pan over medium heat, melt butter and when foam subsides, add celtuce stalk pieces. Turn often, until butter and celtuce begin to lightly brown, 5-10 minutes. Remove to serving plate, and drizzle most of the butter over the pieces.

4 Return pan to heat and add garlic clove, then swirl in lemon juice. Add the reserved leaf bunches, turning to just coat and heat slightly. Remove and arrange on plate with stalk pieces.

5 Serve with a very light sprinkle of Fleur de Sel, for full flavor.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 2 Servings

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