Over the past couple years, there’s been an increasing tendency in the culinary world to look outside the box and incorporate unusual ingredients. Long gone are the days when a semi-serious foodie could understand every word on a menu; there are so many obscure or exotic ingredients popping up that it’s often only with the use of a smartphone that one can sound knowledgeable at all.
This is particularly true when it comes to greens and salads. No longer can kale, arugula, and frisée stand in convincingly as creative iceberg lettuce substitutions. These days, we have sweet potato leaves, mizuna, and mâche popping up in their place. And don’t be surprised when roasted green garlic or spring onions — which were so fresh and trendy just a few years ago — are replaced by rustic grilled ramps.
The trend toward stem-to-root cooking— which involves making use of every edible part of a plant — is partially responsible for this upswing in the popularity of greens. This means you can expect to see unfamiliar greens from familiar plants. Carrot-top pesto, sauteed broccoli leaves, and salads made with beet or radish greens are increasingly appealing and popular options.
While we don’t anticipate the staples (such as baby spinach, romaine lettuce, or chard) will go anywhere any time soon, we expect to continue seeing creative, exotic, and rustic greens springing up on plates nationwide.