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.
Here 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.
Food & wine pairing: Rhône, Viognier with mâche and Asian pear salad
A fragrant Viognier from the Rhône in southern France or from the New World is gorgeous with this salad. The classic Viognier aromas of summer stone fruits and blossoms, reminiscent of honeysuckle, as well as the wine’s lush texture will harmonize beautifully with both the Asian pears and the truffle oil.
Mâche and Asian pear salad with hazelnuts and truffle vinaigrette
active time: 20 min
For the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons white truffle oil
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad
- 1 1/2 Asian pears
- 5 oz (140 g) baby mâche – rinsed and spin-dried
- 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts – coarsely crushed (use a mortar and pestle)
- Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk shallots, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste until well blended and set aside.
- Step 2: Cut Asian pears in half crosswise and core. Using a mandoline, cut each half crosswise in 20, 1/16″ (1.6mm) slices. 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.
- Cook’s note: To toast the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the skins are dark brown and split open and the nuts are golden. Cool to room temperature, then rub off the skins between two clean kitchen towels. Use in this recipe right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Looks refreshing and delicious! I need to eat more salads 🙂
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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!
Such a beautiful yet simple to put together salad. Well done and most appealing espec. to this salad queen.
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.
What an elegant holiday dinner salad. I love the warmth you have with the hazelnuts and truffle oil-yum!
Those greens look so delightful and fresh… :))
Nice and simple. Love mache…. very delicate
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…
The salad is lovely. Perfect in every way. I’ve never had mache but look forward to trying it!
Looks amazing and I am sure taste even better.
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!
Wonderful flavors! Delicate, simple and beautifully presented.
I have to be honest I have never heard of mache but I’m all up for trying new things.THis looks divine!
The hazelnuts are a nice touch.
This salad is beautiful! I love mache too!
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