I left Fresh Field (see separate post on this provedore) with bags of produce. The most unusual contents were two types of microgreens that are typically used as garnishes at pricier restaurants. Essentially just a few days beyond the sprout stage, these microgreens are tiny, flavorful and super cool. Considered all the rage by restauranteurs in the U.S. for a few years now, I have NEVER seen microgreens for sale in Manila until I ran across Edwin Sy at Fresh Field. He just started growing these and has recently introduced them to some of the top restaurants in the city… in fact, they appeared in a spread on steak a few days ago in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
What makes them interesting is not only their size (micro is apt), but the amount of flavor wallop they pack! The Arugula microgreens taste like adult arugula – sharp and peppery, but not as overwhelming. The Garnet red microgreens have a hint of spinach taste but are very intensely red or burgundy in color. I used mine in experimental pizzas for flavor, not just garnish, and they were really, really good. Still in its infancy, and because they are so labor intensive to grow, the greens cost several thousand per kilo but you only need a few grams to garnish a plate or spread over a small pizza. Keep an eye out for these, I hope we see more and more of them in the months to come.
Also in my bag was extremely fresh and lively Mizuna. Mizuna (Brassica rapia) is a popular Japanese green (of Chinese origin way back when) that is similar to mustard leaves. The specimen pictured here is enormous. Sold from the “micro” stage to this stage in other countries, the green has many uses from salads, to garnishes, and as part of traditional hot pots, sukiyaki and other casserole type dishes. I prefer smaller leaves for raw consumption (as in salads) but the larger leaves are great cooked. I also find the leaves useful as a spectacular garnish to a chopped tuna tartare that I make for special dinners…recipe in a future post. The leaves have a very interesting and intricate jaggedness to them.
Finally, my bags had edamame, or fresh green soybeans. Yum. I learned to eat boiled green soybeans a decade ago in Japanese restaurants on the U.S. East Coast. They were often brought to the table with some good sea salt to munch on before your appetizers or meal arrived. Green soybeans are relatives of the more commonly grown yellow-black soybeans that are turned into tofu, soy sauce, etc. Green soybeans are raised specifically to be eaten right out of the pods – and are more buttery and flavorful than the yellow-black varieties. In the past, you could get these here frozen but lately more and more farmers are trying to raise this and how good is that for us, the consumers? At P30 for 100 grams of pods (they only bring the roots and stems to show you just how FRESH these are), they are a bargain. To prepare, wash well, bring water to a boil in a big pot, add salt to the water, and drop the pods in and cook for just 3-4 mintues. Drain the pods and put under cool running water to stop the cooking process. Serve at room temperature with some good sea salt. Do not eat these raw.