Traditionally the European green salad was an hors d’oeuvre, a light dish to whet the appetite. Its association with haute cuisine damaged its reputation in the eyes of less sophisticated diners, who could not see the point of eating tasteless lettuce with insipid vinegar and rancid oil.
The French, Italians and Swiss changed this attitude by developing varieties of wild green leaves specifically for the purpose of serving them in a salad dressed with impeccable oils and vinegars.
Perhaps the best example of this innovation is cornsalad or lamb’s lettuce.
The wild valérian variety (mache or rampon in French, nüsslisalat or feldsalat in Swiss-German, valerianella in Italian) was deliberately cultivated to produce a nutty flavour.
Grown throughout the year it is now an essential ingredient in green salad, and as the favoured lettuce in countless salads.
Nüsslisalat mit Frucht Vinaigrette
300 g cornsalad, washed, dried 45 ml olive/walnut oil 30 ml balsamic vinegar 15 ml apricot/pear nectar Black pepper, large pinch Salt, pinch
Combine nectar, oil and vinegar, dress cornsalad, season and serve.
Mâche et de Roquette dans l’écrou Vinaigrette
150 g cornsalad, washed, dried 150 g rocket, washed, dried 45 ml hazelnut/walnut oil 30 ml apple cider vinegar 30 g hazelnuts, roasted, cooled, chopped 30 g walnuts, roasted, cooled, chopped 10 g almonds, ground Black pepper, large pinch Salt
Combine oil amd vinegar with almonds, dress leaves, mix in nuts, season and serve.
Insalata di Valeriana
300 g cornsalad, washed, dried 150 g pecorino, shavings 25 cherry tomatoes, halved 30 ml olive oil 15 ml balsamic vinegar 5 g black pepper
Mix cornsalad with cheese and tomatoes, combine oil and vinegar with the pepper, dress and serve.