Mâche is unique among salad greens: it’s the only one I’ve found that I actually like. With a sweet, nutty flavor, mâche looks like arugula but lacks the bitter aftertaste. And mâche grows in cute little rosettes (clusters of little green leaves).
Also called ‘lamb’s lettuce’ (“which may be a reference to the fact that it tastes best during the spring lambing season,” says WiseGeek.com) and even ‘corn salad’ (despite having no relation to corn), mâche (Valerianella locusta) has been cultivated in France since the Renaissance and in the last decade has been grown in California; it’s now becoming fashionable among foodies, according to NPR. I hadn’t even heard of mâche until about a year ago, but you can find it at many health food stores and even the local supermarket in my neighborhood in Queens now carries it (somewhat irregularly).
Here’s the great thing about mâche: it’s very low in calories, has no fat, has a wonderful taste, and is loaded with vitamin B9 (folic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids (a 4-oz. serving has 160 mg of vitamin B9 and more than 250 mg of omega-3s). Not only can it help you lose weight, by buying organic mâche, you’re helping the environment by encouraging land to be set aside for cultivation of this delicate green rather than for the raising of beef cattle or the construction of new exurban housing developments.
Pauline’s mâche salad:
70 grams (about 2.5 oz.) of mâche
half a cucumber
a dozen steamed broccoli florets
Port Salut or Emmentaler cheese or tofu cheese substitute
a handful of raw walnuts or almonds
a half a handful of raw organic Austrian pumpkin seeds or raw sunflower seeds
a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or soy-based parmesan cheese substitute
a tablespoon or two of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
one organic yellow bell pepper (sliced)
on the side:
spelt flatbread or breadsticks
organic baby carrots
hojicha roasted green tea or Fujian white tea
Pauline’s mâche salad
Bon appetit et vive la mâche~!