High-end restaurants have used microgreens for years because they are pretty, tasty and add great texture. Happily, they are now increasingly available for the home cook.
By Maya Parson
Unless you have a green thumb, produce doesn’t get any fresher than a bunch of microgreens snipped from their soil tray at your local farmer’s market. These tender but nutrient-dense miniature greens are harvested when only the first set of true leaves have emerged. High-end restaurants have used microgreens for years because they are pretty, tasty and add great texture. Happily, they are now increasingly available for the home cook.
Here’s how to use them:
Choose a variety or a mix from your local farmer: from the familiar kale, radish, and arugula (rocket) to the more “exotic” shungiku (edible chrysanthemum), komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), or mizuna. Flavors vary from mild and sweet to peppery and bitter depending on the type of green. Ask the grower for a sample!
Use the greens to top everything from roasted vegetables to pizza. They can also be eaten as a salad and added to sushi, wraps, and sandwiches. If I’m not putting them on pizza, I like mine tossed with thinly sliced radishes and celery, dressed with a simple rice wine and olive oil vinaigrette, and served alongside a fried egg. Pure magic!
Maya Parson entered the world of food journalism as an ice cream taste tester for her local newspaper at age eight. She later pursued a career in cultural anthropology – happily feasting on farm cheeses, fresh corn tortillas and a lot of rice and beans during her field research in Central America. Maya eventually settled in the other “central America” – the U.S. Midwest – where she enjoys cooking with farm-fresh foods and writing about food, culture and the culinary arts. She is the editor of Edible Michiana Magazine and can also be found on her blog, Cultured Grub.