OK, it wasn’t really that bad. And frankly, it must have been some sort of ridiculous cooking hubris that made me even attempt recipe-less lettuce soup in the first place. Lettuce soup sounds sick and wrong, and although I have had some friends report success with the concept, they were all following well defined recipes.
I decided to make my lettuce soup a garbage soup. I had a potato, an apple, and most of a fennel hanging around, and I threw them all in with the lettuce to see what happened. I can assure you it was not good. So really, my recipe was everything listed above, plus broth, cook, blend and done. When I tasted it for seasoning, it was just shy of being a disaster. It was bitter and swampy, with a distinct lemony pucker.
Things that could have made it better would have been a good deal of onion, nicely caramelized as the base. Also helpful would have been some basil or cups of mint. As I was totally out of onion at that point, and didn’t feel like blending it again with herbs, I opted for my standard approach – fat, salt, sugar, and white wine in various combinations have never let me down.
I knew that I wanted to mix it with plain yogurt, so I skipped heaping on the butter. I dumped in 1 Tbs sugar and a good deal of salt and pepper and it improved instantly. Back in the pot with some white wine, and it was almost good. Even after I added the yogurt though, it still had a distinctly lemony aftertaste. Not bad, and Sam liked it well enough, but I had already thoroughly grossed myself out with the soup.
Finally, I resorted to my ultimate fix-it strategy: serve it as a side dish rather than the main. I served the soup as an accompaniment to grilled sandwiches.