Sometimes called "spring mix," mesclun is a bright fresh combination of a variety of salad greens.
- Arugula (ah-ROO-guh-lah): Also known as Italian cress or rocket, arugula has a peppery taste and its leaves resemble radish leaves. It’s great in creamy pasta sauces as well as salads.
- Baby Spinach: Young spinach is more tender and delicately flavored than its mature counterpart.
- Belgian Endive: Sometimes called French endive, this member of the chicory family grows as a cigar-shaped head with tightly packed leaves. Endive is grown in darkness to prevent it from turning green. It has an assertive, somewhat bitter taste and is also good for braising.
- Dandelion Greens: From the same “weed” you curse in your lawn, dandelion greens are best picked before dandelion flowers. They have a slightly bitter, tangy taste.
- Frisee (free-ZAY): A member of the chicory family, frisee has Curly yellow-white to yellow-green leaves. Also called curly endive, it has a mildly bitter taste.
- Mache (MAHSH): A small-leafed green, mache is known as lamb’s lettuce or corn salad and has a somewhat sweet flavor.
- Mizuna (mih-ZOO-nuh): A Japanese green, with spicy, peppery taste, mizuna has serrated leaves that resemble dandelion leaves.
- Oak Leaf: A decorative and flavorful leaf lettuce resembling oak leaves, oak leaf lettuce can be green or red in color.
- Radicchio (rah-DEE-kee-oh): A bitter, assertive taste characterizes radicchio, an Italian member of the chicory family. These red leaves with white veins are also good roasted and in risottos.
- Sorrel (SOR-uhl): The long slender leaves of sorrel have flavors that range from fruity to slightly acidic. They’re good in soups and stews as well as salads.
- Watercress: This member of the mustard family has with small, crisp leaves and a sightly bitter and peppery taste.
By Jo Marshall, author of Cookcabulary series
Start with a wooden bowl as your empty canvas, and design your way to a fantastic salad.