Mâche and Asian pear salad with hazelnuts and truffle vinaigrette

December 14, 2010

Mâche is unforgettable. I call it the princess of all leafy greens.

The tiny lettuce, when picked young, looks like a rosette, no bigger than a small daisy. Also known as corn salad, field salad or lamb’s lettuce, mâche thrives in cool weather and, contrary to its delicate features, is a pretty hardy little plant. It’s also packed with many nutrients.

But I will confess that’s not the reason I love mâche. What truly enchants me is its subtle and succulent flavor, which makes for the most elegant salads and garnishes.

In today’s recipe, I serve the mâche with super-thin slices of Asian pear, and toss the tender greens with a shallot and truffle vinaigrette. The sweetness of the petite lettuces harmonizes beautifully with the aromatic pears and the more pungent vinaigrette.

Wine pairing: Westerly Vineyards, Viognier 2006

Mâche with Asian Pears, Hazelnuts and Truffle Vinaigrette

serves 4
active time: 20 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  2. 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  3. 3 tablespoons white truffle oil
  4. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  5. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad

  1. 1 1/2 Asian pears
  2. 5 oz (142gr) baby mâche – rinsed and spun dry
  3. 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts – coarsely crushed (use mortar and pestle)

  1. Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk shallots, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste until well blended and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Cut Asian pears in half crosswise and core. Using a mandoline, cut each half crosswise in 20, 1/16” (1.6mm) slices.
  3. Step 3: Place five pear slices in the center of each plate, overlapping them and arranging them in a long row. Place the greens in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with two-thirds of the vinaigrette and toss until all the leaves are well coated, being careful not to break them. Arrange the greens on top of the pear slices. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette. Finish with ground pepper to taste and serve.
  4. Cook’s note: To roast the hazelnuts – Preheat oven to 325ºF (163ºC). Place hazelnuts on a jellyroll pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the skins are dark and have split and the nuts are golden. Shake pan once or twice during the baking to ensure even roasting. (Do not brown the nuts or they will lose their flavor.) Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, rub the nuts between your fingers or with a lint-free, clean kitchen towel to remove the skin. Store nuts in airtight container for up to 1 month.

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Here’s another festive, gourmet salad: Arugula salad with fennel, blood oranges, clementines and olive vinaigrette

© 2011 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

TiffKey December 14, 2010 at 11:01 am

This salad is beautiful! I love mache too!

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Matthew December 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

The hazelnuts are a nice touch.

Matthew

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Traci(faithfulfoodiefashionista) December 14, 2010 at 11:14 am

I have to be honest I have never heard of mache but I’m all up for trying new things.THis looks divine!

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Priscilla - She's Cookin' December 14, 2010 at 11:26 am

Wonderful flavors! Delicate, simple and beautifully presented.

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Cynthia Bailey MD December 14, 2010 at 11:42 am

This is a beautiful and simple salad. It’s a great way to use the lovely truffle oil I bought but that I always forget to use. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Simpson Wong December 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Looks amazing and I am sure taste even better.

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El December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

The salad is lovely. Perfect in every way. I’ve never had mache but look forward to trying it!

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Viviane December 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for all the comments everyone… And for those of you who have never tried mâche, I hope this post gets you running to your store! These little lettuces are that good…

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penny aka jeroxie December 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Nice and simple. Love mache…. very delicate

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Jenny Nguyen December 15, 2010 at 3:38 am

Those greens look so delightful and fresh… :))

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Debi (Table Talk) December 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

What an elegant holiday dinner salad. I love the warmth you have with the hazelnuts and truffle oil-yum!

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Sylvie December 16, 2010 at 5:40 am

What a nice light and refreshing salad, a perfect break from all those heavy meals that we tend to eat during the holidays. Crispy Asian pears and crunchy hazelnuts sound like a lovely combination.

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Joanne December 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Such a beautiful yet simple to put together salad. Well done and most appealing espec. to this salad queen.

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Cristina December 21, 2010 at 3:14 am

Oh! Where to find this delicate flavored tiny lettuce? A lovely salad with the hazelnuts, baby lettuce and pears…the truffle vinaigrette must be delectable. Happy Holidays to you Viviane!

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Donna Ford December 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Looks refreshing and delicious! I need to eat more salads :)

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