Mesclun: Greens that mix it all up

WHAT'S COOKING?

August 11, 1993|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

In recent years I've seen mesclun appearing more and more on restaurant menus. What is it?

Mesclun is a mixture of baby lettuces and fragile young greens, which are sometimes mixed with fresh herb leaves and edible flowers. Originating in France, it combines flavors ranging from mildly sweet to peppery and somewhat bitter.

Q: Why do some recipes call for unsalted butter when salt is also listed as an ingredient? Why not just use salted butter?

Unsalted butter is made from a better quality of cream than the salted version. The salt actually acts as a preservative, and not a flavor enhancer in the butter, and can mask impurities.

Q: I love the flavor of those Greek or Italian olives that contain the pit, but is there any trick for making pitting less tedious?

A simple solution for pitting is to place the olives in a small plastic zipper bag and close. Gently pound the olives with a flat heavy instrument such as a meat pounder. The pits will pop out and can easily be separated from the fruit.

Send your questions to: What's Cooking? c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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