Prickly lettuce (Lactuca), the familiar coast-to-coast delicacy from which some botanists think our cultivated lettuce was developed, can be the main ingredient in an enjoyable cream of wild lettuce soup. Begin by sautéing a diced, medium-size onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. When it is soft but before it has begun to brown, add a chopped clove of garlic and 4 loosely packed cups of shredded, tender, young prickly lettuce leaves. Stirring, cook for 3 minutes.
Then pour in a cup of hot stock made from whatever game is to provide the main course, or flavor the cup of water with a bouillon cube. After this has simmered for 12 minutes, add a cup of rich milk and warm just short of a boil.
In the meantime, beat an egg yolk with 1/2 cup of light cream, stir in an equal portion of the soup, and then pour bit by bit into the whole. As soon as everything reaches a bubble, crown with paprika, and serve. This will delight the most select group of sophisticated epicures.