Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Committee stuffs its collective pie-hole with teeny tiny greens

micro celery!

Micro celery from Satur Farms, available at Fresh Direct (along with micro red amaranth, micro cilantro, and mixed micro greens). The world's tiniest celery has a strong and true celery flavor, but what do you do with it?

salmon with gremolata

We had little fluffy piles of it dressed lightly with olive oil and lemon juice alongside salmon with gremolata and mushrooms à la Grecque. If you are not familiar with the former, gremolata is basically a pesto made without cheese or nuts. Most recipes contain parsley and lemon zest and garlic; mint might stand in for part of the parsley and lime might take the place of lemon, and if the cook is unconcerned with tradition for tradition's sake there might also be capers in the mix. Wikipedia notes that gremolata is similar to persillade but only in the persillade entry will you see that both are similar to pistou.

The recipe for the salmon is here (scroll down) and I would happily make it again. I had just two salmon fillets but made the full quantity of gremolata; the left-overs can be put to excellent use, particularly if you reduce the amount of salt by half. You can always salt your salmon to taste at the table, but if you are stirring the remaining gremolata into risotto or scrambled eggs or spreading it on a sandwich or spooning it on top of a bowl of soup you won't want it too salty.

As for the mushrooms à la Grecque, I'd never made them before and when I began comparing recipes I soon realized that there is no definitive version. In all instances this is a dish of mushrooms cooked in olive oil, seasoned with coriander seeds, and served chilled, but the acidity might come from white wine or from lemon juice, and in addition to coriander there might be thyme or maybe some other herbs. There is usually chopped tomato or tomato paste, and possibly onion or shallots.

mushrooms  à la Grecque

I used both this recipe and this one and worked with what I had in the kitchen, which meant that I left out the tomatoes and the substitute tomato paste. My version instead used the following ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 generous teaspoon coriander seeds
1 sprig of thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
1/2 pound of white mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half or in quarters if large
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the olive oil, the wine, the coriander seeds, the thyme and the bay leaf to a boil. Add the mushrooms and simmer for ten minutes, uncovered. Allow the mushrooms to cool in the liquid, season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate both the mushrooms and the liquid in a covered dish until well chilled.

The mushrooms were very, very good and I have a feeling I am going to be making some variation on them every week during the summer, particularly with zucchini in place of the mushrooms. The flavorful liquid shouldn't go to waste; with a squeeze of lemon juice it makes a delicious salad dressing.

The left-over micro celery went into a sandwich, but it was no match for good ham and strong mustard. I think it's far better suited to adorning hors d'oeuvres: a spoonful of shrimp or lobster salad on a tiny round of toasted brioche, or a slice of roasted beet topped with crème fraîche on a square of dark bread, or a deviled egg (in place of the old lady-ish dusting of paprika).

The left-over gremolata, on the other hand, was excellent spread on bread and toasted under the broiler.

the leftover gremolata

With a grilled chicken breast and some normal-sized greens from the deli, and desserts from the falafel take-away, it made for a satisfying indoor cherry blossom-viewing picnic.

it's here, it's here!


  1. I once had micro-basil on something at wd-50 and it was luverly. Gentle, and yet unmistakeably, basily. Glad to see you're enjoying the spring!!

  2. I've been wondering about those microgreens, thanks for taking the demystifying plunge. The mushroom recipe sounds luscious and right up my alley, as does what you did with the leftover gremolata. Great idea!

  3. Wow! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this blog. You have a wonderful approach to food and beautiful photography. I'll definitely be back for more.

  4. Ann,
    Micro-basil sounds delicious. I'm sure the leaves would be gorgeous too; basil leaves have such a nice shape.

    You should try the mushroom recipe; it's very good and takes just a few minutes to make. I'm looking forward to making it again soon!