Contrary to popular belief, salad leaves are not just for rabbits; in fact they are quite delicious and come in a vast array of varieties, flavours, shapes and colours, long gone are the days where lettuce meant iceberg, iceberg or more iceberg.
At the restaurant we use many types of lettuce: curly endive, red chard, red ruby chard, iceberg, lambs tongue, chicory, wild rocket, Chinese leaf, watercress, baby gem, iceberg, baby spinach and radicchio to name but a few, these change depending on season, availability and of course the right flavour for the dish.
It has a peppery, mustardy flavour and is well suited to Italian style salads. It can be eaten raw or cooked; it is a nice addition wilted into a risotto or pasta dish.
This crunchy leaf has a perfumey and very bitter taste which does mellow slightly when cooked. In America they use the chicory root to make a chicory coffee.
Known to be a superfood as it is high in vitamins and minerals, one 100g portion of watercress can provide over 60% of your daily intake of Vitamin A alone and over 70% Vitamin C. Like Wild Rocket this too has a peppery taste.
Also known as frisée is prized for its light green inner leaves, the outer leaves are usually very bitter and not very tasty
For a quick tasty lunchtime salad why not try:
- 100g Mixed Leaves of your choice
- 1 tbsp Walnuts, Crumbled of chopped
- 1 tbsp Croutons
- 1 Crunchy acidic apple like a Granny Smith
- 25g Blue Cheese, Like a mild Stilton
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive or Rapeseed Oil
To make the dressing whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey and oil until emulsified. Alternatively you can make a larger quantity to use for another day by bulking up the recipe accordingly, place all the ingredients into a jam jar, place on the lid and shake until emulsified. Use what you need then store in the fridge in the jar. This will keep for 1 month. Toss all the salad ingredients together then drizzle with the dressing, place into a bowl and enjoy.