Green Garbage Salad

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So this is what I’ve been eating whenever I have the chance to: Green Garbage Salad. I suppose Kitchen Sink Salad would be a nicer name. At any rate, it’s about all we have from the garden right now, but it’s also about my favorite thing to eat.

Let’s start with the fact that I didn’t plant nearly enough mesclun this year. Or rather, what I thought was enough didn’t come up so well. So I have a small garden box with mesclan mixed with some kale and some mache I’d forgotten I planted, but we’re not overrun with salad like I’d hoped. One night, disappointed by my sorry harvest, I walked around the yard with a paring knife and grabbed pretty much anything green. Now I make this mixed salad constantly.

Whatever mesclun is ready goes into the salad spinner. And the mache (also known as corn salad), which is a great, low-lying green that you cut off close to the ground.

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I also take some leaves from the sorrel plants that are threatening to take over the yard. I love sorrel because it’s a perennial, so I don’t have to plant it again. Trouble is, other than pesto I really haven’t used it much. Until now.

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I also grab some kale leaves. The white moth caterpillars have decimated some of the kale, but I have a couple of plants that don’t look like Battenburg lace, so I’ve been eating off of those. My method for getting rid of those caterpillars is to pay the kids 5 cents a caterpillar to pick them off and drown them, which appeals to both their kid fascination with death and their greed. I need to get on that this year.

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I have some chard lining a spot in our front yard, and the leaves are still smallish and tender, so I pick a few of them. And some arugula; can’t forget arugula.

After washing all the greens, I rip up the mesclun, mache (really just separate the leaves of the mache), and arugula; and then I julienne the kale, sorrel, and chard. Then I toss on some dried fruit like cranberries or blueberries, some Parmesan, maybe some seeds.

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Although I started making this because I didn’t have enough salad greens, I love the different tastes mingling together: the spicy arugula, the almost tart sorrel, the heady kale. Mache and chard both have very gentle, fresh flavors. With a couple of spoonfuls of Nora Ephron’s Vinaigrette, even if a certain girl is feeling grumpy and tired from an afternoon of swimming, you’ve got yourself some good eating.

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