Leaves, seeds, weeds and micro-greens


From the left, leaf radish, rocket and chive flowers. http://www.thelittlesaladcompany.co.uk/gallery.html

From the left, leaf radish, rocket and chive flowers. http://www.thelittlesaladcompany.co.uk/gallery.html

When I was growing up, salad (and I use the word advisedly) consisted of lettuce, cucumber and tomato, dolloped with salad cream.  If you were lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of taste), you sometimes got a slice of beetroot or hard-boiled egg as an added extra. It took a while, but nowadays salads are much more interesting. Fortunately!


Today, there is a whole world of exotic leaves, greens, micro-greens, seeds, weeds, sprouting things and edible flowers. Not only can salads look amazing, they can taste amazing too. But before we congratulate ourselves on our post modern (or is post post modern?) salad sensibilities, we are really doing nothing more than re-inventing the wheel.  

In 1737, The complete family piece and country gentleman and farmer’s best guide, listed the following kitchen garden produce for January:

Chardoons, Carrots, Parsnips, Beets (both sorts), Potatoes, Clary, Skirrets, Scorzonera, Turnips, Horse radish, Sage, Onions, Garlic, Sprouts, Shalalots, Racombole, Borecole, Cabbages, Spinage, Parfley, Sorrel, Chervil, Leeks, Thyme, Winter marjoram, Sellery, Young lettuce, Mint, Cress, Mustard, Radish, Endive, Burnett.

An amazing variety of salad ingredients, even in the depths of winter. The same book gives this receipt (recipe) for:

A Sallet of cold Capon

It is a good Sallet, to flice a cold Capon thin, mingle with it fome Sibbalds Lettice, Rocket, and Tarragon fliced fall, feafon all with Pepper Salt Vinegar and Oyl, and fliced Limon, a little Origanum doth well with it.

You have to give it to those Georgians, they knew how to make a good sallet and apparently, they had the ingredients with which to do it.  Looking for inspiration for my version of a sallet, I came across The Little Salad Company in South Oxfordshire.  The growers, Matthew and Kirsten Loveday, have a passion for salad and seed  the plants themselves in their market garden, at the Earth Trust outside Wallingford. Like the Georgians, they grow and harvest seasonal salad ingredients the year round.  I especially like their edible flowers, which ‘doth well with’ with my version of a cold chicken salad.

With thanks to www.wallpaperscraft.com

With thanks to www.wallpaperscraft.com




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