Friday, 22 October 2010

Salade Sauvage

Poupier (Purslane)
Early spring is the main season for wild salad plants and I'll blog more on that next year. However, the period after the first autumn rains does bring on a few delights. These two are stars on four counts; they have an excellent taste, are fairly easy to find, are quick to pick and easy to prepare for the salad bowl.

Roquette (below) is the most common great wild salad here and also has a long season. It grows on the banks of most small lanes and, unlike many salad plants, the leaves are still tender after the delightful yellow flowers develop. It's more peppery than the shop bought stuff (rocket in the UK) so needs to be mixed with other leaves or just use as a garnish. There's a white variety called "false" roquette that loves the vineyards but has an inferior taste and texture.

Pourpier (above), known as Purslane in the UK, is often stocked by up market London grocers. It's a bit harder to find than roquette and while it also likes vineyards this source is best avoided unless known to be an organic. It has a great crunchy texture with a slightly sour and salty taste.

Roquette (Rocket)

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