A Taste of Italy: Insalata Valerian

A Taste of Italy: Insalata Valerian

Hello from Emilia-Romagna!

It's been a while since I last posted. Since last leaving Portland, I've traveled across the country on a 3-week road trip, sailed the Greek Islands and am currently eating my way around Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. With all of the delicious meals, we've been having, you bet I have plenty to share. The abundance of fresh foods--the taste is unimaginable. I'm feeling like we're being deprived of great flavors in the US!

A salad that we've been having a lot of is Insalata Valerian. It's a simple salad.

Not sure what Valeriana is?

Neither did I.

So, let me explain...

Valerian is better known as Corn Locust in english. This beautiful green salad is known by many names: corn salad, corn salad, lamb's lettuce, lettuce and many others. The lamb's lettuce is characterized by small leaves, rounded tips, which grow small clumps. It is very tender and has a distinctive flavor.

Traditionally in Italian cooking, Valerian is consumed raw, as a salad. Fresh and refreshing, is very popular in the summer for the preparation of cold dishes with tomatoes, cheese, feta, dried beef, corn, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives as well as oranges and tangerines. It is often mixed with other types of salad, including chicory.

It's funny how eating habits change when you travel abroad. After days of ravenous Mozzarella Di Bufala, prosciutto, and tomato consumption, it's safe to say that this is the new "in" veggie in our family.

A Taste of Italy: Insalata Valerian
A Taste of Italy: Insalata Valerian
A Taste of Italy: Insalata Valerian

Here's a recipe I'm sure you'll love. Serve this with mozzarella and prosciutto and I'm sure I'll be dreaming of Italy!

What You'll Need

1 bag Lamb's Lettuce (Whole Foods or Trader Joe's)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt, to taste

What You'll Need To Know

Toss everything together in a bowl, drizzle a little olive oil, lemon and a dash of salt.

Recipe makes 2 servings.