What is Mâche ?


THIS is Mâche — which is also called “corn lettuce” or “lamb’s lettuce”.

Mâche is a European salad green that grows in small, rosette-shaped bunches. It has dark green leaves on short stems. It has a distinct sweet taste—making it known as the “mayonnaise of salad greens”. It is wonderful dressed simply with toasted walnut oil and a dash of good sherry vinegar.

NPR Radio actually did a story on Mâche back in August 2003 — click here for the story and audio. I had known about  Mâche and, had seen it in Trader Joe’s for a while before I finally picked up a bag. I am now addicted. This little lettuce is sweet, soft, velvety and nutty. All the goodness of other mesclun mixes without any bitterness or peppery bites — so it works well with many ingredients.

You can also cook Mâche as you would spinach, but I find the delicate flavor and texture perfect when eaten raw.

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So what did I do with it? I made an incredible salad!

Mâche Salad with Avocado, Kumquat and Lemongrass

1 bag Mâche (4 oz — they have it at Trader Joe’s)
1/2 – 1 c. sliced kumquats, pits removed
1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh lemongrass (outermost stalk leave removed)
2 tbsp chopped fennel fronds (this was the 4-yo’s suggestion and worked great!)
1 1/2 avocados, cubed
Black Hawaiian rock sea salt (also from Trader Joe’s)
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Meyer Lemon
2 Chive flowers, broken apart — for garnish

In a large bowl, combine Mâche, sliced kumquats, fennel fronds and lemongrass. Season with sea salt and fresh pepper. Drizzle liberally with EVOO. Squeeze the lemon juice to taste. Toss salad and then carefully fold in avocado. Sprinkle with a little more sea salt and pepper and then garnish with a sprinkling of chive flowers (not shown in picture below). Serve immediately in order to prevent the Mâche from wilting.

The sweetness of the kumquat rind, coupled with the sour Meyer lemon and buttery avocado and Mâche, was an amazing combination. Fresh, fragrant and a great pairing for grilled fish or chicken.

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4 Comments to “What is Mâche ?”

  1. Coca B says:

    This is absolutely refreshing! I love the inclusion of kumquats….perfect touch for the lightness and sweetness of Mâché. Thank you!

    cb

  2. [...] plated the chicken salad on a bed of fresh watercress, corn salad (mache) and arugula and served it with the fresh asparagus, avocado and radishes. The sweet top little [...]

  3. [...] with a lettuce salad and dressing for a complete meal.  Another option is to put it on a bed of mache.  Mache’s nutty flavor makes a great companion to this [...]

  4. Shaun says:

    You guys don’t know how to enjoy Mâche in the best possible way.
    It’s sooo simple.
    Buy a bag of Mâche at Trader Joe’s and wash it once with water (although Mâche is basically grown hydroponically and is therefore soil free).
    Put it in a bowl and add two tablespoon soy sauce and the same amount of vegetable oil, and toss the salad.
    Wait for 5 minutes so that Mâche will somewhat wilt.
    That’s it.
    Serve it on top of a slice of bread OR with cooked rice!
    You’ll love it!!!!!

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