My mother is a fantastic storyteller. When my sister and I were little, one of our favorite bedtime stories was Rapunzel. My mother told us the traditional version of Rapunzel: That Rapunzel’s mother craved the lettuce growing in the witch-neighbor’s garden while she was pregnant, and Rapunzel’s father was caught stealing the lettuce and forced to promise Rapunzel to the witch in return for mercy.
I honestly thought the lettuce thing was something my mom made up (like she told me not to untie my belly-button or I’d go sailing around the room until I finally deflated) until two things happened this week: I woke up craving salad, and I looked into the Rapunzel story so I could tell it to Elliott.
Turns out that “rapunzel” is the field green also known as mâche, so that poor kid in the tower is actually named “lettuce.” Also, a simple green salad is pretty awesome for breakfast.
I used mizuna and mesclun in this salad, not mâche, and paired it with fresh mozzarella from Hillsborough Cheese Company and tomatoes from Screech Owl Greenhouses, homemade biscuits, farm eggs, and a really simple balsamic vinaigrette. It turned out to be exactly what I was craving: bright, crisp greens, tangy dressing, flaky biscuits and rich eggs, creamy cheese and juicy, flavorful tomatoes.
Mizuna is my new favorite green. Slightly mustardy but with a very clean finish, it’s great fresh in salads or cooked. If you choose to cook it, be aware that it’s a lot of water—use at least a half pound if you expect to feed several people.
2c unbleached white flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening* (I split this between butter and Crisco)
1 c milk
Oven at 425F
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Place flour, shortening, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Debate rages as to the best strategy for blending your flour and fat—by hand or with a fork/pastry cutter. I prefer using my hands, rubbing the fat into the flour, because I can feel when the mix is ready without relying on vague descriptions such as “looking like cornmeal.” When I squeeze a handful and it loosely and briefly holds shape—then it’s ready
I then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk, mixing with a fork in as few movements as possible. For drop biscuits, scoop a generous tablespoon per biscuit onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes; peaks will be browned. Makes 10-12 biscuits depending on size.
This is super fast, based on a recipe my Aunt Gretchen taught me.
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
2tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Keep extra in a jelly jar in the fridge up to 3 weeks.
Enjoy a fantastic breakfast!