Strolling through the Union Square Market in New York, I am almost always drawn to this purveyor of microgreens that offers several dozen varieties of baby lettuces and leafy vegetables that look so incredibly appetizing. I am a huge salad fan, and despite the great improvements in availability of salad greens in Manila, our choices are decades behind where I would hope them to be. So on trips to the West, I quite literally pig out on salad. One could argue that the flavor difference between many smaller greens is hard to distinguish if blindfolded, but I still like the visual beauty of many of these little young leaves with exotic shapes, colors, notably different textures and mouthfeel, ability to grip dressings, and have various degrees of bitterness, pepperiness, crunch, softness, etc. A salad dish filled with several baby greens is just so incredibly appealing to look at.
Since I canâ€™t get many of my favorites in Manila, I go a little wild when in New York. And on this trip to the market, I instinctively reached for some plastic bags and stuffed in some wild baby arugula (different from standard arugula), mache or lambâ€™s lettuce and some baby frisee lettuce. While I know I spotted the prices clearly displayed with the lettuce as $12.00, I think I unconsciously ignored the part that said per Â¼ poundâ€¦actually, what that then translates to is about $100 per kilo!!! Egads, is right. Even compared with the priciest microgreens I have found in Manila at PHP2,000 per kilo (which now appear to be a bargain), this was utterly EXPENSIVE! I was too embarrassed to back out so for my measly 200+ grams of greens, so I got nailed for over $20! The greens easily made 5 generous salads so I shouldnâ€™t be griping, but I definitely got bamboozled. At those prices, greenhouses in Manila can raise these in AIRCONDITIONED comfort and have staff sing to them, for export to places like HK or Japanâ€¦
I find it is best to enjoy these baby greens with a minimum of fuss. Just a really good extra virgin olive oil (perhaps even an unfiltered one) and a squeeze of lemon or some drops of excellent balsamic vinegar. Maybe a few bits of cheese or cubes of beetsâ€¦ The stuff was so pricey I decided to showcase them here on yet another of my sisterâ€™s silver/crystal pieces. Itâ€™s not that often that you find glass plates with a rim or edge of spectacular sterling silver in an intricate patternâ€¦ these plates date from the 1890â€™s, and were made in the U.S., during the heyday of glass/silver works. I thought they were just way cool. A pain in the rear to keep clean probably, but amazing in that they have borloloy but arenâ€™t excessiveâ€¦ They were a perfect match for the delicious but grossly overpriced baby salad greens.