What Is Mesclun?
Since the 1980s, restaurant menus have offered salads of mesclun as first courses and side plates. Mesclun is a southern French term meaning “mixture,” and is used there to refer to field greens collected and combined for salad. Here, it has come to mean any mixture of salad greens, but usually contains baby greens such as red and green oak leaf lettuce, young arugula, frilly lolla rossa, frisee, mizuna, and assorted other greens. Sometimes, fresh herbs and edible flowers are included in the mix.
The tender, delicate greens in mesclun make delightful salads, dressed very lightly with simple dressings such as vinaigrettes. They usually sit nice and high on the plate, add color and texture to a simple dish, and create a wonderful bed for a more substantial item such as a quiche or sandwich. Though usually priced by the pound at something like $7 or $8, mesclun is actually pretty inexpensive. Just try to fill one of those market produce bags with a pound of the stuff, and you'll see it bursting at the seams before you get halfway there.