Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feldsalat/ Mâche / Lamb's Lettuce

Vegan Mofo! I'm loving how excited I am right now - I keep finding other blogging vegans here in Germany, and I've discovered some awesome blogs. Thanks for the comments everyone! Not only do I get the fun of reading them, I then get to go through your mouthwatering recipes... It's nice to see such a great community happening. Today in my German class we were discussing the theme of "healthy lifestyles" and the teacher, an ex-vegetarian, was telling the class about how being a vegetarian for 10 years made her underweight and sick. I countered, with my shockingly awful grammar, to defend the choice and to say that absolutely any diet can be unhealthy - it simply depends on what suits the individual. Anyway, now my entire class of foreign students thinks I'm nuts, and I'm really enjoying being able to talk about food. It was oddly fun. :)

So, let's talk about food! Feldsalat / Mache / Lamb's Lettuce / Corn Salad / whatever the hell you want to call it... this is a lettuce with a squillion names. (No points to the German name of "Field Lettuce" for its 'originality'.) But, because I'm a nice guy (ok, I'm a woman, but whatever) I'm willing to overlook this lettuce's multiple-personality disorder. No matter what you're calling it, this stuff is delicious. Seriously. It's sweet and just a touch grassy, so much so that I don't mind that it's a bit of a pain in the ass to wash it. It does collect a lot of grit between the leaves, which is easily fixed if you can be bothered ripping the base of each plant off and giving the leaves another rinse. Or you can spend that time washing the leaves over and over. I tend to separate - I'm a divide-and-conquer sort of personality, I guess.

You're going to cover your eyes and pretend that the poor lighting of my kitchen isn't absolutely repulsive in photos. Because at 7:30am, after I've been to the Dom Markt, it's still as black as night outside. I think you get the point, however: wash your mache in a huge bowl, with lots of icy cold water, and let the dirt settle to the bottom. Scoop out the greens, pull off the stems, give them a quick rinse in a colander, and then dry them with your favourite method. They work well with gutsy salads, but are sweet enough to use in delicate salads too. I like cubes of roasted pumpkin in my salads, and the combination of pumpkin and mache is unbeatable. Use them in place of your favourite lettuce (you have a new favourite now) or just eat them as-is with mustard and balsamic vinaigrette.

Mustard and Balsamic Vinaigrette
(enough for 150-200g, or a really giant handful of leaves)

2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp mustard (dijon or wholegrain)
1 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix together until the mustard has completely dissolved into the mix, and the oil and vinegar are generally emulsified. I recommend using a large shot-glass, an egg cup (this is Germany - people actually own those, here!) or a tiny spice jar. Pour over mache and mix well, until the leaves are just coated. Scoff it down, then make some more. ;)

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