Native Wild Sorrel. Baby Red Amaranth. Purslane. Micro Red Amaranth. Young garlic chives. Red Wine Cherry Tomatoes. Mustard Microgreens. Baby Kale Leaves. Petite Arugula. For an amateur cook like myself, that reads like a delivery receipt for a snazzy restaurant, perhaps one with a Chef that has REAL credentials. But that’s just part of what our home delivery receipt included last Friday, when Gejo of Malipayon Farms dropped by to deliver our minuscule order of dill, romaine lettuce, basil, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage and five cherry tomatoes and everything else listed earlier. I was like a kid in a candy store. Too much good stuff to be used up before they wilt in a couple of days…
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the wild sorrel. I have had mild French sorrel before, either in salads or a soup, but I would have never guessed a cousin would be growing wild here in the Philippines. Often mistaken for clover in other countries (note the three leaves, hence the wonder at finding a four-leafed clover), local wild sorrel is also known as wood sorrel, oxalis acetosella see photos in link with yellow flowers, seed pods and identical looking leaves. Bottom line, they have a surprisingly acidic or sour flavor, perfect for garnishing local dishes. I had never come across it before, and I used it to good effect in a dish the following day (post on that up tomorrow).
Next up were some Baby Red Amaranth or I am guessing Amaranthus gangeticus or also known as Chinese spinach or red spinach (but I don’t think it’s closely related to real spinach). These young leaves perfect for a salad or as a garnish as well.
Purslane is more common in European dishes (and Australian and Indian dishes centuries before that), and while I have seen it in some high-end groceries in the herb section over the last few years, and remember some of it in use at La Girolle, I haven’t much of a clue how to use it effectively. Some consider it a pesky weed, others a gourmet flavor note. If you have any suggestions other than adding it to a salad, I would love to hear some…
Next, some micro red amaranth, meaning just barely sprouted seeds (the seeds are used as food in India and elsewhere I gather). And some very young garlic chives that haven’t yet flattened out and acquired the strong garlic flavor of its older siblings.
Perhaps now more common, but I am still thrilled to get my delivery of fresh supplies of, are some mustard micro greens, sage, mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley and coriander.
The mustard micro greens have a really pleasant bite, not too strong, with a hint of mustard. They were a perfect garnish for the raw salmon I featured in the previous post. I suspect they would be wicked with deep-fried pork slices as well, along with some tomatoes, etc. The young, small sage leaves were spectacularly fresh. I have to fry them up or use them with some veal or pork pronto before they start to brown. Why is it you can never find sage when you need it for a particular recipe, and then, when you aren’t looking, this handful of terrific sage lands on your doorstep?!
Fresh mint is the bomb. We use it in fruit salads (try it with slices of honeydew and a squeeze of lime), in vietnamese spring rolls, to make fresh mint sauces, or torn into salads. Fresh basil for tomato salads (the tomatoes are getting much better as the sun bears down its intense heat) and pasta sauces.
Rosemary and thyme, essential for our simple roast chicken, and a whole lot of other uses.
And finally, flat leaf (Italian) parsley and coriander or wan soy. You just know the weekend is going to be spent trying to make use of as much of this farm bounty as possible. Thanks Gejo!