At the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Saturday, we saw a delectable salad green called mâche. Known by other names such as corn salad and lamb's lettuce, it's believed by historians and literary buffs to be the rapunzel plant - the very one that grew in the witch's garden that Rapunzel's mother longed for, and gave up her only child for.
While we wouldn't give up our child for an unlimited supply of mâche, we do enjoy eating it in the spring. After eating lettuce all winter long, it's a refreshing change to the palate. Mâche is more popular in Europe, but in recent years it's been turning up on American tables. In Europe, it is often found growing wild in the fields.
Mâche is a nutrition powerhouse, packed with vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. The leaves are very tender and bright green, and somewhat succulent in texture. The taste and aroma is very fresh and sweet. It's quite easy to prepare - simply wash off the leaves and spin them dry, as you would do with other greens. We prefer to toss them lightly in a little hazelnut or walnut oil with a chopped clove of garlic or two, and perhaps a sprinkling of salt. Mâche can also be steamed or sautéed like spinach.
(Image from Recipe Tips)