Mache-ing into Spring
Pronounced "mahsh", rhyming with ‘posh’, this small leaf green has been popular in France for since the 17th century where it has been widely cultivated in the Atlantic coastal regions of that country. Today, Epic Roots located in California’s Salinas Valley is the largest cultivator growing the salad greens from heirloom seeds. Todd Koons, "the Johnny Appleseed of salad" is the owner/farrmer and oversees 10,000 acres. According to a recent TIME article, the company shipped "its first field-grown mâche in 2002" to fewer than 100 stores. "Now more than 3,000 stores carry them."
Before French farmers began purposely growing the geens, mâche was harvested from fields where it grew among corn, rye, and wheat. This is why sometimes you will see it referred to as corn salad or field lettuce–it’s also known as lamb’s lettuce.
The simply made salad is better with this green. Dress it with quality olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. If you are feeling wild throw in some French feta. Another idea is to toss the rinsed and spun leaves in with some warm pasta.