Latin Lettuce!

Well, okay, Roman lettuce, specifically Columella Salad (Moretum).

If I were really organized, I would find out who Columella was (an old Roman writer who knew a lot about agriculture), explain moretum (it’s a kind of ancient Roman salad), and find out which cookbook this recipe came from (my Latin teacher gave it to me).

Way too much work.

Instead: I made this recipe with some classmates for a high school Latin class party. I don’t remember the rest of that party, and I still feel really terrible about how much we teased the teacher, but I loved the salad and made it numerous times well into my college years.

Columella Salad (Moretum)

  • 1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 teaspoon savory [ahhh! I still don’t know what this is…!]
  • 2 teaspoons mint
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rue, chopped (optional) [I still don’t know what this is, either!]
  • 2 teaspoons fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

There are 2 ways to make this:

1) Wash and dry the lettuce leaves, cut or tear them into bite-sized pieces, and place them in a salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly.

2) Use only 2 lettuce leaves, and blend them with the herbs and onions in a blender. Transfer the greens to a mixing bowl, add the cheese and ground pepper, and form it all into a ball. Add the vinegar and oil in sparing amounts.

Now how do you say yummy in Latin?


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