I rarely use bottled salad dressing. Sure, I have two bottles hanging out in my fridge, jammed in the corner behind the stuff I actually use, untouched. The truth is, I prefer to make my own salad dressings, because I easily tire of the same tastes over and over again. So I make something different every week.
Here, I put together a salad made with mâche, which is also known as Lamb’s lettuce or corn lettuce. It’s essentially an herb, and grows wildly in corn fields. It’s also a tasty green grazed on by lambs (hence the alternate names). One and a half cups of it contains only 30 calories. It also satisfies more than your daily needs for vitamin C, and also contains vitamins A, iron, and calcium.
Mâche was something I first had in France (advertisements were everywhere for this green; even on billboards in the subway system!) and always thought it was a European thing that I would never have again. Imagine my surprise when I saw organic mâche in my grocery store, and the same price as the other organic greens! I thought it would pair perfectly with some sliced fennel bulb, Seckel pears, and bits of dried cranberry. I used the fennel fronds (waste not, want not!) and whisked together a light vinaigrette that was refreshing and wonderfully complemented the anise flavor of the fennel, sweetness of the pears, mildness of the mâche, and tartness of the cranberries. Ah, I was transported back to Lyon with this very sophisticated salad.
Here’s what mâche lettuce looks like. Super dainty, so make a light vinaigrette with not too much oil.
Mâche Salad with Fennel and Seckel Pears
makes 1/4 cup dressing, serves 2 people
for the salad:
3 cups Mâche, or Lamb’s lettuce
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 Seckel pear, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries
for the dressing:
1 Tbsp finely chopped fennel fronds (looks like dill)
1 tsp finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Whisk together all the ingredients, except the oils, in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the oils while whisking the dressing until emulsified. Pour over salad and serve.