In the 19th century, the Franciscan friars of Cimiez, a monastery that overlooked Nice and the Baie des Anges, were so poor that they did not have enough lettuce seed to sew a whole row of the same variety. They harvested the various shoots as they grew, combining them with the roquette and dandelion leaves that grew wild around their land, to make a meal for the locals who gave them alms. Since then, mesclun (from the local dialect word “mesclar “, meaning to mix) has become one of the symbols of Nice cuisine.
A real Nice mesclun must include chervil and seven types of lettuce, including roquette.
All locals have their own seasonal recipe for ensuring a perfect balance between tart and sweet tasting leaves.