Ed Smith offers inspiration for meals and snacks that can be eaten on the spot or taken away, using the extraordinary range of products on offer at the Market
It’s a long time since our choice of lettuce was limited to a flappy round one, or a crisp, wet, iceberg. In their place came bags of mixed salads with varying degrees of flavour and bite, but a propensity to go from fresh and new to brown and mushy in the blink of an eye.
Things are better now. You’ll find numerous different types of salad leaves at the Market, both whole and bagged. They range from bitter through peppery, citrusy and sweet. All are interesting and serve different purposes.
On my Borough bites search this week, I caught sight of a bag of Chegworth Valley mustard leaves, and decided to base my meal on them. The ‘mustard’ in the title is a pretty strong clue for what they taste like—fiery, peppery, mustardy. Really worth seeking out and adding to your salad bowl, or matching to ingredients that you’d usually pair a spoonful of the yellow stuff with.
Coarse, meaty and fatty
On this occasion, for example, I walked just a few steps from Chegworth’s stand to Fitz Fine Foods and pretty quickly spied a pot of paté de campagne—a coarse, meaty and fatty pork treat, just crying out to be eaten with those leaves.
To my mind there’s little need to complicate paté, so I simply wondered over to Olivier’s Bakery, bought one of their baguettes, and shoved more than my fair share of meat and leaves within it. I’ve a pot of beer chutney at my desk from a few weeks ago, which would’ve added a nice sweetness... but I forgot.
No bother—the freshness of the bread, the savoury paté and spicy mustard leaves made for a cracking sandwich. A baguette of this size would be fine for two people, probably leaving a few leaves and definitely some paté for another time.
You’ll see the cherries are out in force at the moment, so I finished things off with a pot of the lovely ruby fruits to sate the post-sandwich sugar craving and to pick at through the rest of the afternoon.