Mâche–also called corn salad and lamb’s lettuce–is a mild-flavored salad green. Mâche (say ‘mah-sh’) can also be steamed and served as a vegetable.
Mâche has a sweet, slightly nutty taste. Its flavor is so subtle that it can easily be overpowered by other leafy vegetables or dressings. It is often served alone or as a counterpoint to strong-flavored greens such as arugula and chicory.
The peak season for mâche is spring, but it can be grown year-round in a greenhouse.
How to Choose Corn Salad
- Select crisp, bright lively green leaves that are unblemished and show no signs of wilting or yellowing.
How to Store Corn Salad
- Mâche will keep in the refrigerator crisper for 2 days wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a perforated plastic bag.
How to Prep Corn Salad
- Do not wash mâche until just before serving. Be sure to drain thoroughly.
- Trim away rootlets.
Corn Salad Serving Suggestions
- Use mâche fresh in salads. It can be used in early spring in place of lettuce.
- Mâche can be served alone or combined with other tender leafy lettuces such as Boston or Bibb. Corn salad is a common ingredient of mesclun, the lettuce green mix. Mix the subtly flavored mâche with pungent greens such as cress or mustard. Use mâche with winter greens such as Belgian endive or Treviso radicchio and frisée.
- Dress mâche with walnut, hazelnut, or grapeseed oil dressing. Add the dressing at the last minute to ensure maximum tenderness and flavor.
- Use mâche as a garnish on soups, cut into little pieces before serving. Mâche will add color to omelets, rice, or potato salads. Use mâche in poultry stuffings.
- Mâche blends well with nuts, apples, and beets. Serve mâche cold with boiled beets or celery. Combine mâche with fried bacon or ham and beets.
- To serve mâche as a hot side vegetable, steam the leaves like spinach. Place the leaves in a steamer basket over one inch of slightly salted water. Steam until just tender.
Corn Salad Flavor Partners
- Mâche has a flavor affinity for beets, champagne, vinegar, chives, lemon, nuts, shallots, sherry vinegar, tarragon, and winter greens.
Corn Salad Nutrition
- Mâche is rich in vitamins A and C, carotene, iron, and potassium.
Get to Know Corn Salad
- Mâche grows in rosettes of spoon-sized round or oval, grey-green leaves that measure 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) long depending upon the variety. The leaves can feel a bit velvety to the touch.
- Mâche is a cool-weather annual that is frost resistant. Frost may actually improve the flavor of mâche.
- Mâche is its French name. Corn salad is the name often used in the United States since this green tends to grow wild in many American cornfields. Lamb’s lettuce is an old English name: this green first appears in spring during lambing season and is a lamb’s favorite food and each leaf looks a bit like a lamb’s tongue.
- Mâche is native to the Mediterranean region and has been in cultivation since the time of the ancient Romans.
The botanical name of mâche is Valerianella locusta. A related variety V. eriocarpa is known as Italian corn salad.
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