Easy Lambs Lettuce
Melt-in-the-mouth leaves which you sow in both spring and autumn. Mixing your lettuce leaves with other leaves adds different textures, colours and flavours to your salads. Corn salad/Lambs tongue - known as Mache in France but sometimes called that in the UK too, Lambs lettuce or Lambs tongue from the shape of the leaves, and Corn salad in the US. It has the most velvety soft leaves and melt-in-the-mouth texture, is easy and quite quick from ground to plate. It can be sown from Mar-Apr, and then again from Jul-end Oct which is it's main season. Most people panic about this. They just don't believe you can sow it so late in the year, but this is it's time, so let nature take it's course and you'll be eating this wonderful leaf in the autumn and winter, especially if you stagger the sowing. It won't grow back after you pick it, so pull the whole bunch of leaves up, cut the small root off, wash, dress and serve. I always plant a lot of this wonderful leaf, as I just love making salad, just with lambs lettuce. You can buy it imported, but it can be pricey. Don't waste your money as it's just so easy to grow. Sow 1cm down, water occasionally, especially at first, and nature will do the rest. It doesn't need full sun or feeding and pest pretty much leave it alone. Rose Gray from the River Café makes a wonderful salad of Bottarga (a dried fish roe) with Mache which I highly recommend.
Valeriana d'Olanda - Dutch variety with larger leaves than the French Cambrai variety you see in Britain. I very much like this one, but if the Cambrai is restaurant quality, then this is garden quality, which is fine. Don't forget that a 'garden quality' tomato is still often much better than a 'shop quality' tomato after all!! Larger, fatter leaf gives it a meatier bite, but the colour is a less attractive lighter green than the Cambrai.