We can’t think of a better green to welcome in spring than one with an adorable name like Lamb’s Lettuce. Of course, this green has many identities and what you call it depends a lot on where you buy it. In France and in most American grocery stores it goes by the name mâche (pronounced mahsh), in Germany it’s called Rapunzel and in some parts of this country it’s called field greens or corn salad, because it’s known to grow wild in corn fields. But today, since we’re feeling in a spring mood, we’re calling it Lamb’s Lettuce and giving reader Richard Freund credit for reminding us how much we love this green in salad. Lamb’s Lettuce (or mâche, or field greens, or Rapunzel…) is unique not only for its delicate rosette shape, but also for its buttery texture. It’s usually served in salads, but can also be thrown into soup or wilted slightly in a quick sauté with oil.
Richard’s Lamb’s Lettuce and Spinach Salad recipe (submitted for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest) has such a vibrant, green color that we feel healthy just looking at it. In both color and nutrients, Lamb’s Lettuce gives spinach a run for its money. Not only is it loaded with iron and B vitamins, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Where raw spinach is slightly astringent and coarse, Lamb’s Lettuce is nutty and velvety. The two balance each other out nicely in a salad, and the addition of bright purple cabbage lends an added boost of color and antioxidants. Richard cuts up thin slices of green apple to give his salad a little sweetness and crunch, which together with the Lamb’s Lettuce, spinach and cabbage creates a new flavor combination that will pull you out of a salad rut.
Lastly, Richard picks a protein to make this salad recipe a full meal. A fillet of wild salmon will further enhance the omega-3s, but grilled chicken will taste great with the greens, too. Richard finishes off this mild and versatile salad with any dressing he has on hand, but walnut oil vinaigrette is our favorite since it enhances the sweet, nutty qualities of Lamb’s Lettuce.
As with most salads, simply add more or less greens depending on how many servings you want. In grocery stores, Lamb’s Lettuce (or mâche) is often sold in 4-ounce bags. It’s delicate and wilts easily, so plan to use it soon after you buy it. This time of year, keep your eye open for Lamb’s Lettuce at farmers’ markets as well.
Ingredients (for approximately 1 serving):
Although the salmon can be cooked any way you like, poaching is a quick and easy method. Preheat the oven to 350 degress Fahrenheit. Place the salmon in a baking pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cover with foil and bake until done, approx. 10 minutes for a 1/2 pound fillet.
Mix together the greens and apple* (see below), top with protein and drizzle dressing on top.
Mix together vinegar and shallot, then whisk in oil until well-blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*For a flavorful twist on this salad dressing, omit the sliced apple from the salad and add it to the dressing instead.
Put apple slices in a blender and pulse a few times to break them up. Add vinegar and shallot, then drizzle in oil with the blender running. Blend until the dressing has a thick, but smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.