is Lamb's Lettuce.
It's also known in different parts of the world as Lewiston cornsalad, corn salad, fetticus, field salad, mâche, feldsalat, nut lettuce and rapunzel. So I actually got two correct answers, from Iris and from Anonymous (whom I strongly suspect is my mum). Well done to both!
Corn salad/lamb's lettuce grows wild in parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. In Europe and Asia it is a common weed in cultivated land and waste spaces. In North America it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized on both the eastern and western seaboards.
Corn salad was originally foraged by peasants in Europe, but it was De la Quintinie, Louis XIV's royal gardener, that cultivated it and introduced it to the world.
In Britain it has been used as food for many centuries but has only been available commercially since the 1980s. As to the name, it's called 'corn salad' because it frequently grows as a weed in wheat and cornfields.
Myself, I've only ever heard it referred to as 'Lamb's Lettuce' although at first glance it looks a lot like watercress. I have to say though, I prefer the taste to that of watercress and would go so far as to say it's probably my second favourite salad leaf next to baby spinach.
So how's about a recipe?
Other than uses in salads, it's also good when gently steamed as a side vegetable, but here's a recipe for soup.
Cream of Lamb's Lettuce Soup
150g lamb’s lettuce
200g peeled potatoes, large diced
Ground pepper (preferably white)
250ml double cream
Set aside a few lamb’s lettuce leaves.
Put the butter in a saucepan, add the rest of the lamb’s lettuce and leave to sweat without colouring.
Add the potatoes, season with a good pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Add 1 litre of water and leave to cook gently for 30 mins.
Blend the soup thoroughly in a mixer. Add the cream and check the seasoning.
Serve in medium–sized cups or in soup bowls.
Finely snip up the rest of the lamb’s lettuce and spread over the top of the soup.
Sounds good to me!
Okay then, how about the new food?
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