I must be feeling better if I’m back on the salad thing. At some point in this illness we had run out of food (not surprising for 2 whole freakin’ weeks) & I ventured out to the Bowl to stock up. They were having a major clearance on mâche, a good-size box of the stuff for under $2. I’d never seen it so cheap, so I nabbed a box & brought it home. I don’t really know mâche; it’s one of those foodie lettuces that always seems unreasonably pricey—even for me & my spendy, nothing-but-the-best salad ways—so I’ve only eaten it in restaurants.
First, I tried it with some slices of blood orange & bits of Iberico cheese, dressed with a simple shallot & sherry vinaigrette. This was just okay & felt kind of funny in my mouth. I don’t know how to describe it; it wasn’t astringent like spinach can sometimes be. The best I can do is to say it was strangely mealy for a fresh green leaf. Maybe it had to do with being sick & my mouth was the problem, not the mâche? Or maybe there was a reason it was on sale? But it looked fresh enough.
Okay then, the next evening, mâche take 2: I decided to apply the wilted spinach salad approach, plus throw some sweet, heavy things at it. I also hedged a little by using half mâche & half baby spinach. I sliced 5 or 6 mini chicken apple sausages, a like number of Deglet Noor dates, & an Empire apple, & sauteed them in olive oil until they cooked together: the sausage browned, the dates got nice & gooey, & the apples softened almost to mush. Added some pine nuts, & then spooned the same shallot-sherry vinaigrette over it all. This smelled really delicious, & I thought for sure it would work. I poured this hot cooked stuff over the mâche & spinach leaves, tossed it & ate it.
Hmm… much better, but it still needed something else. Something pungent & zippy. Maybe a fresh herb like marjoram? If I were really 100% well, I probably woulda tried harder, & figured it out.
Lemon zest? I don’t know why I didn’t think of it…