Young primrose leaves have a strong, slightly hot flavour. Disraeli’s favourite salad is said to have been a combination of primrose shoots and cowslips. Cowslips seem to have almost disappeared from the countryside but primrose leaves mixed with small spinach leaves and crunchy white bean sprouts make an unusual and economical spring salad. You must use fresh bean sprouts as the tinned ones are too soft. Fresh bean sprouts can be bought at some greengrocers and at Chinese grocers. Or you can easily grow your own from the little round Mung beans they sell for the purpose in health food shops. They take two to four days to sprout kept damp in a covered bowl and they will then stay fresh in a polythene bag in the fridge for at least a week.
Very roughly slice the spinach leaves unless they are very small. Mix them in a bowl with the primrose leaves and the bean sprouts. Dress with French dressing. Sprinkle the flowers on the top for a pretty and romantic touch, but they are also good to eat.
© 1976 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.