On the village square on a Saturday morning in my husband’s home town, you will find all kinds of green vegetables, like Pflucksalat and Mangold (Chard) and twenty different kinds of cabbage. It is overwhelming for a South African used to very low food diversity because only very few green vegetables are commercially viable on a large scale here. We eat exotics, most of which come from Europe, and before that from the areas around the indland seas of Asia, and though there are new drought tolerant varieties, they generally don’t take to a hot drought stricken country without life support. So its on these farmers markets on frosty mornings far away and long ago that I learned about eating chard with fried eggs and potato (see recipe below) and Ärpelslot (a linguistic cognate of ‘apple salad’ if you imagine someone saying it with heavy rich treacle in their mouths) but with a meaning closer to ‘potato-lettuce’. Toss still warm baby potatoes with Pflucksalat oil and vinegar. Yes, that’s it. End of recipe. Pflucksalat in the lexicon of that rosy cheeked Bergische Bauerin was a tiny spoon shaped, very hardy loose leaf lettuce that is grown in frames through the dead of winter and supplies greens when even cabbage stocks are low. It looks like baby choi but with a less sturdy stalk, however, it is definitely lettuce not cabbage, and has a round leaf tip, unlike rabbits-ear lettuce which grows in Australia. It has a delicate sweet nutty flavour. I put a link below to a picture of likely candidates on pinterest, but I can’t find the English name. It could be very young romany lettuce. I will check with my German gardening contacts. Anyway, Ärpelslot is one of those simple-but-sublime salads. Find out how to grow lettuce on the link below and harvest the leaves very young for a similar taste experience.
the following page has some pictures of Pflucksalat
To find out how to grow chard see my chard page, and a link to a recipe for simple chard, potato and egg dish, and grow rocket, and find out how it is used around the world, and make green soup.
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