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Friday, October 30, 2015

LECHUGA WITH A 13TH CENTURY RECIPE OF LETTUCE WITH LAMB

Trimmed Lettuce Ready for Consumption
Photo by: Lord-Williams
L. Lactuca, Eng. lettuce. It is believed that lettuce descended from a Siberian variety of wild lettuce that acted like opium by relaxing the consumer and making him sleepy. The Romans used it especially for celebrations for its laxative effects and it served as a tranquilizer or for its anti-aphrodisiac effect.

During the Middle Ages, the use of lettuce fell dramatically in Al-Andulus, although it continued to be used in the Barbary Region of North Africa. It was considered humid and cold. It was thought to generate an extraordinary subtle blood and was beneficial against itching produced by the combustion of the humors. Lettuce was washed and left to soak until it appeared wilted and then eaten. Pliny states that it was the symbol for continence as it contained properties that calmed lust.

Adding Lettuce to Lamb
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For Jews, it was the symbol of the coming of spring. It meant perpetual renewal of life and everlasting hope for human redemption. Medieval Jews in Spain mention it as a salad variant for greens but it was not a necessary ingredient except during Passover when a special salad was served. As lettuce is bitter it is prepared in memory of the bitterness of the Jewish slaves of the Egyptians. [Covarrubias; 1998:756:35a; Font. Plantas. 1999:629:971-873; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:83:96; ES: “Passover.” May 11, 04; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]

MEDIUM SIZE HEADS OF LETTUCE ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #460. TERCIADO DE CABEZAS DE LECHUGA, p 252

Ingredients

A Very Tastey Dish for the Lord of the House
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 lb lamb (lamb chops were used)
1 onion
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cloves
½  c oil
3 heads of lettuce
¼ c vinegar
½ tsp saffron
1 tbsp spikenard

Preparation

Chop lamb into small pices. Put it in a pot. Add salt to paste with a pice of onion, onion, pepper, coriander seed, clove, saffron and oil. Cook until almost done. Add heads of lettuce, peeled and cut up. When the lettuce is done, add vinegar and finish cooking. Cover with beaten egg, mixed with saffron and spikenard. Cover and remove from heat.  Let sit until eggs have solidified.



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