Micro-greens | WYPR


Apr 14, 2014

April 15, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - MICRO-GREENS

When we dine out these days, there's something happening on the plate at good restaurants everywhere that might be easy to miss.  More and more chefs, and home cooks for that matter, are using something called "micro-greens" as ingredients and garnish. Easily mistaken for alfalfa sprouts, micro-greens are created during the infancy of an edible plant.  They usually have a wispy little stem and several small but flavor-packed leaves.  They are very easy to grow, requiring minimal space, and they come in a wide variety.

We invited Larry and Zhana Hountz onto our show to talk about their little in-home micro-green business.  "The Vertical Farm" is actually situated in their Patterson Park home, where they grow the micro-greens hydroponically.  They brought about 15 little plastic containers of freshly harvested micro-greens for us
to try.

Micro-greens are being used as garnish, or as an ingredient in a dish.  What they offer is two-fold:  delicate crunch texture and intense spicy flavor.  Honestly, it's hard to imagine such little leaves generating so much flavor... but they do.

Here are some of the most popular micro-greens you're likely to encounter:  mustard, beet, kale, komatsuna, cress, sorrel, arugula, chard, basils of all kinds, radish, purslane, carrot and mizuna.

In addition to the "sprout" category, you can add baby lettuces of all kinds. These marvelous miniature leaves have a curiously intense but delicate flavor that make them perfect for a spring salad.

Here are a few ideas for using micro-greens that go beyond mere garnish.

Make a micro-green and goat cheese omelet.  Mix a bunch of micro-greens into a spicy mayonnaise to brighten up a sandwich.  Swirl a tablespoon of micro-greens into a cream of asparagus soup.    Or try spooning on a slurp of sour cream onto a mini blini, and adding micro-greens and caviar.

You can reach Larry Hountz and his Vertical Farm at 443-765-4757 or email him at larry@city-hydro.com.  Or you can look for him at the Johns Hopkins farmers market.