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Friday, December 30, 2005

Unloved greens

Babymustardleafs_2A brief interlude from being a goodie two shoes, I'm going to go on a little rant. A couple of Saturdays ago at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, I wandered over to Mariquita farm stand and saw a pile of the most beautiful baby greens. They looked like happy vegetables. They really did, all bright and green and curly and cute and little. I didn't know what they were, so –as one does- I picked one up and took a bite. It was spicy and crunchy, with a deliciously complex flavor, like fresh salad greens with a little dose of wasabi. That little baby has got a lot going on!

Julia saw me stealing produce so she came to over to give me a hard time. Well, no, really, she came to tell me they were baby mustard leafs. I said to her I found them so delicious and I was thinking up all sorts of things I could do with them. Then she told me, to my complete astonishment, to take as much as I wanted. Just take them, Julia insisted. She had a few boxes at the market that day, and hardly anyone bought them. She didn't really want to carry them back, so I could have them if I wanted.

It's not like I didn't like free stuff or anything. It's just that I was so floored by the fact that no one wanted them. No one thought to try them apparently. They looked a bit unusual. People didn't know what they were so they got left behind. That's just crazy. It's the farmers market people! The point is to try things. Yes, things you didn't know -what fun is it to try things you already knew! Just pick one up and take a bite.

What could you do with these greens? Plenty of things. Use your imagination. You could make a little salad with just a simple vinaigrette. A proper one, you know, a spoonful of vinegar, a bit of mustard, and a pinch of salt, throw in some minced shallots and to that add three spoonfuls of olive oil. That one. If you are not so keen on a spicy bowl of plain salad, then you could tone it down a bit by throwing in something sweet, like persimmons or pears. And if you're not keen of those either you could just add some mild goat cheese.

I have seen soup made of mustard leafs in France. I also remember Ji Young of Ya Rayi Our Rai talking about making kimchi with them in one food forum or another. I'm sure there are plenty of things you could do with them. There is also this recipe book called Google, you know?

So, if you shop at the Ferry Building on Saturday, go by Mariquita's stand and try one. You might even want to buy some. No, Julia isn’t paying me for this post. It's just annoying to see this good thing going to waste. Really, try some. How bad could it get to spice things up a bit in your life, no?

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