Salad Leaves

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Our salad bowls have been prettied up beyond all recognition over the last decade or so, thanks to the sudden surge of interest in green leaves. First to break the monopoly of the floppy roundhead lettuce was the iceberg, its crunch providing novel texture but little in the way of flavour. Better things followed thick and fast in the shape of unruly mops of frisée, handsome, russet oak-leaf lettuce, sweetly crisp romaine/cos and Little Gem, spicy, rugged mustard leaves, pretty but insipid lamb’s lettuce and, the leaf that even salad haters find addictive, tender, spear-shaped rocket with its assertive peppery flavour. ‘Green salad’ is a bit of a misnomer nowadays, when it might equally well contain white-veined red radicchio or pale yellow chicory.