I first encountered mesclun at a charming inn near Saint-Paul-de-Vence, in one of the most breathtaking corners of Provence. We lunched at a sun-splashed table, caressed by the aromas wafting over from fields of lavender and wild thyme. Was that was made it so fabulous? When they brought out this simple salad, nothing could have tasted fresher, lighter, closer to the earth. For mesclun — which means ‘mixture’ in Provençal — is composed of new leaves, at least seven varieties, of the herbs and lettuce that grow naturally in the region.
Salade mesclun à l’huile de noix / Salad of mixed greens from Provence
Traditionally, mesclun is served with a dressing of extra-virgin olive oil with lemon and, sometimes, mustard. In this version, the olive oil is blended with walnut oil and balsamic vinegar to produce a deeply satisfying taste. Mesclun may be served as a first course — possibly with something beside it, like cured country ham or goat cheese bathed in olive oil and fresh thyme — or as a side dish, or after the meal and before the dessert. It deserves the freshest of bread alongside. Guaranteed to please.
Site news: Many thanks to all of you who have borne with me while I dealt with the hacking of this web site. As of today, I can report that the hackers have been expelled and the site is back to normal, with recipes appearing every Tuesday and Friday. It was a major hassle to get rid of the intruders, but I learned a lot. And now that it’s over, what can I say? Very, very relieved to be back to my usual role — of happily cooking.