17 October 2013


I was just reading about the salad green called mâche in French and learned that it is rich in vitamin C. Good, because with these colds — mine is definitely better but Walt is still really suffering — we need a lot of that vitamin right now. We had a mâche salad for lunch yesterday, with fresh tomatoes (more vitamin C).

Fall is the season for mâche, which I've heard called "lambs' lettuce" and which I see is also called "corn salad" — that might be the British name for it, as "corn" means any grain over there and mâche can grow wild in fields of grain. Mâche goes by a lot of regional names in France.

Mâche makes a good salad with vinaigrette dressing. It's nutty flavored, not bitter, and has a nice tender texture. It contains a lot of beta-carotene and very few calories. It can also be eaten cooked like spinach. I've read that Thomas Jefferson grew mâche in his gardens at Monticello in Virginia two centuries ago. Walt and I once grew it in our vegetable garden in California.

In France, a frequent accompaniment to salade de mache is cooked beets. I've always seen it served that way here, since the 1970s. Another frequent accompaniment, and less desirable, is sand or grit. You have to wash mâche very carefully to make sure you get all the sand off it. Mâche is sold as tiny little plants — leaves, stems, and even roots. That's where the sand catches. You can carefully cut the root off each miniature mâche plant before you wash the leaves, if you have the patience.

The mâche that I found at SuperU the other day is remarkably grit-free. I've just had to wash it in a couple of changes of water and then spin it well to make it ready for dressing. The salad we had for lunch yesterday included mâche, lardons (smoked pork bacon), some of our last fresh tomatoes from the garden, beets, boiled potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. The vinaigrette is made with Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and two oils, corn and olive.


  1. Salade de mâche avec du Roquefort !! Délicieux !

  2. This looks remarkably like what I am planning for dinner tonight :-)

    I think you are spot on with the English names. It is called lamb's lettuce, or more often now, mâche, in the supermarket or greengrocers in the UK, and cornsalad as a wild plant.

    It's reasonably common here as a wild plant. The leaves aren't nearly as plump and succulent looking though. It has tiny pale blue flowers a bit like forget-me-nots.

    I like Jean Laine's suggestion -- it would go perfectly with Roquefort.

  3. Ken, the seed in the UK is sold as Lamb's Lettuce....
    And corn applies to wheat grain only,
    barley to barley,
    oats to oats,
    rye to rye...
    maize to US "corn"!

    Common language be blowed...
    I put my boots in the boot...
    you put them in the trunk...
    my car can fly...
    yours protects you from sparks...
    my engine is under a frilly ladies hat...
    your engine is under a rain cover for passengers in a UK convertible...

    And Susan's comment about thin wild mâche is, I think, because it only grows on "open" soil [poorer, depleted soil usually] as it can't compete with lush vegetation.
    Grown commercially it gets no competition, richer soil and sufficient water... it is happy and grows strong.
    As Pauline and I discovered once... it self-seeds like mad!!
    [We were mâched out and a couple of plants went to maturity...
    then we forgot to weed them out...
    equalled loadsa mâche!!]

  4. Tim, here's an interesting page about the meaning of corn in different dialects of English. One man says that in his region rye is called corn. And what about barleycorn?

  5. Try sage tea to cure all ills! Get well soon...

  6. Miam, miam! Hope your colds are gone soon.

  7. That salad reminds me of a salade niçoise because of the potatoes and eggs, I guess. Either way, as you said the lycopene in the tomatoes and the greens will aid in getting stronger! That would make me happy at lunchtime.

  8. I am learning so much by reading your blog! I had never heard of mache.I will keep an eye out for it at the supermarket, since, according to this article, it is now a "thing!" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1370492

  9. We buy it a lot [SuperU] and it is always pretty thoroughly washed.
    I like Jean Laine's suggestion.

  10. If you want a lot of Vitamin C...eat strawberries!

  11. I have never heard of Corn Salad , but I have heard of Lambs Lettuce ..

    I thought Rye was Rye , and oats are Oats ,, never heard of Mache.

  12. Starman, strawberries are not in season now. Tant pis!

  13. Starman... medicines aren't meant to taste good!! You can't use strawbs as a medicine...

    Ken... Great link! I'd forgotten John Barleycorn... but that's a bit ancient now... I was thinking more recent.
    And, of course, we used to grow "Sweet Corn" up at the allotment...
    haven't tried here, yet...
    mainly because we haven't really had the space...
    interestingly all the books state that pollen from commercial crops alters the flavour of the sweetcorn.
    We now have the space to plant a block next year...
    so I think we ought to 'avago.
    Personally, I can't see how a tiny grain of pollen can alter the first year's seed!!

    And talking of multi-coloured Indian Corn... our favourite sweetcorn has yellow and white grains... it is called "Honey Bantam"


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