No need to wait for summer to bite into it! Three recipes for seasonal salads to eat without moderation

When we talk about “salad recipe”, we often imagine mixed salads such as Caesar or Niçoise, where the leaves only play a secondary role. It’s time to rehabilitate lettuce, clover, dandelion, watercress, escarole and other leaves! In a well-packed book (Salad, we make a whole dish out of itFlammarion, 176 pages, 19.90 euros), journalist Barbara Guicheteau delivers the secrets of these plants to be rediscovered over the seasons – because yes, there is also a seasonality for the leaves!

Did you know that salad consumption dates back (at least) to antiquity? That the Romans mixed arugula with lettuce to enhance its taste? That in the Middle Ages, we tended to cook salads because raw food had a bad press? That Italians continue to grill or braise most of the chicory and radicchi they cook? That the French gobble up 5.3 kilos of lettuce per year and per inhabitant and are far behind the Spaniards?

The book also offers recipes classified by season, where, for once, winter makes you dream with its linguine with puntarelle and capers. While waiting to reconnect with bitter salads, here are three spring recipes to prepare now.

Pesto verde walnuts and lamb’s lettuce

Popularized in its Genoese version with basil and pine nuts, pesto can also be prepared with arugula, sorrel, young spinach shoots, as well as various dried fruits: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios… and possibly their associated oil for a more pronounced taste.

For a good pot of pesto

Preparation 15 minutes. Cook 5 minutes.

  • 60 g of lamb’s lettuce (and a few bouquets to decorate)
  • 30 g walnut kernels
  • 1⁄2 garlic clove
  • 30 g parmesan
  • 3 cl of olive oil
  • 1 cl walnut oil
  • salt pepper

Wash, rinse and dry the lamb’s lettuce (remove the muddy feet if necessary). Crush and lightly roast the walnuts in a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a blender (or in a mortar with a pestle for the purists – and brave ones!), crush the peeled garlic, then the walnuts, the grated parmesan, the lamb’s lettuce and the olive oil. Salt and pepper.

Stir in the walnut oil and adjust until smooth and smooth.

This pesto can be used as a garnish for croques or al dente pasta (eventually lengthening the pesto with the pasta cooking water), garnished with dried tomatoes, parmesan shavings and a few bunches of fresh lamb’s lettuce. It can be kept for a week in the refrigerator under cling film to prevent it from darkening too much on contact with air, and for up to two months in the freezer.

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