Gardening Win!

Finding a way to eat something I'd never tasted this side of the Atlantic...

Nussli Salat. My Favourite kind of salad green in Switzerland.

Nussli Salat. My Favourite kind of salad green in Switzerland.

There have been many things I've learned about cooking from living in Switzerland. When I was 19 yrs old I worked as an Aupair there, and was so incredibly lucky to have been with a family that not only had amazing taste in cuisine, but that showed me how to make delicious meals, teaching me throughout the year, and preparing meals with me, rather than just tasking me to make them. I've been able to recreate versions of those dishes here in Canada, but some ingredients have been unobtainable. One ingredient was "Nussli Salat"- until now!

Corn Salad, Mache, Lamb's Lettuce...

I picked my little plants, right up from the roots like beets, and was FINALLY holding something that looked just like my beloved green. It tastes delicious! Crunchy and delicate, and looks so pretty on a plate too.

Part of the struggle was with the translation. I hunted for the lettuce in grocery stores, trying things that might be similar. They weren't. I looked for seeds. I grew what I thought might be it. It wasn't. I grew a different type another year, and wasn't sure if it was. It seemed to stop growing, stunted. I kept the packet. 

During my time in Switzerland last year making art and attending my exhibition in Gstaad, I decided to try again. I came across some exotic lettuce on a seed website that looked like it might be it. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found other common names for it, and it seemed to describe what I was looking for. One of the names was on the packet I tried. It was so hard to judge the scale of the leaves from a cropped image, and the macro lens photography, when you're used to seeing it on a plate!

I found a seed packet at Shelmerdine's Garden Center here in Winnipeg, and finally had great success!

 

This year I realized that it only grows so tall, and then it's done.  You can leave it in the ground and it'll get more leaves, but it stays the height of little starter plants. 

I hope you get to enjoy it someday! I strongly suggest trying it if you are a gardener! If you aren't, I'll try to grow extra, and maybe try to convince a local bistro to grow and serve it!