Pascale's Kitchen: Microgreens – the ultimate superfood

Microgreens are harvested when they are still tiny and their flavor is extremely powerful.

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
More and more people are paying attention to the food they eat, taking responsibility for everything they put in their mouth, and want to know where the fruit and vegetables they eat are grown. I love meeting people who work the land and provide fresh, nutritious and tasty produce for us all to enjoy.
On one of my recent escapades, I went to Fresh Leaves at Moshav Olesh, which specializes in growing microgreens and herbs. There, I met with Hagai Mazor, the director, and Chef Peleg Bechor, the marketing manager. I was treated to a tour of the plant and then an instructive cooking workshop. It was so exciting to see how they grow herbs in floating hydroponic planters, in which nothing touches the ground. Microgreens are harvested when they are still tiny and their flavor is extremely powerful. By growing them in hydroponic planters, the greens can more easily be protected from insects and therefore do not need to be sprayed with any pesticides.
Microgreens, which are picked just days after germination, are considered superfoods, since they have extremely high concentrations of nutrients that are essential to enrich our bodies and minds. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Fresh Leaves grows more than 40 types of microgreens, such as beets, cilantro, corn, basil, peas, sunflower seeds, mustard. All of these leaves can be added to salads to enhance their flavor. They also grow broccoli and kale, whose leaves can be used to make nutritious shakes.
Makes four to five servings.
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 liters chicken broth or water mixed with chicken soup powder
1 container of peas for soup (600 gr.)
30 gr. radish leaves (sakura)
Salt and pepper to taste
10 gr. radish leaves (micro sakura)
Olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add the peas and stir. Pour in the chicken broth. The liquid should reach 5 cm. above the peas. Bring to a boil.
Cook over a low flame for 15 minutes and then remove from the flame. Add the radish sprouts and blend with an immersion blender. While blending, add the rest of the chicken stock until you’ve reached the exact consistency you desire.
Season with salt and pepper and add the sweet cream or coconut milk, if desired. Turn the flame up high to reheat the soup and then serve in bowls adorned with radish sprouts and a little olive oil.
The pink focaccia calls for micro amaranth leaves, which don’t have a very strong flavor and so can be used easily in pastries and pastas and give them a unique pink tint.
Makes 14 to 15 focaccias with 20-cm. diameter.
1 kg. flour, sifted
2 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
100 gr. micro amaranth
650 ml. water at room temperature
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Pinch of grated pecorino cheese
Pinch of micro thyme leaves
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, yeast and sugar. Add the oil, microgreens and half of the water. Mix gently and then add the salt. Continue mixing and add the rest of the water. Mix well until soft. Cover with a towel and let rise for 40 to 60 minutes or until dough doubles in volume.
Separate dough into 14 or 15 balls. Roll them out into ovals that are 1-cm. thick. Arrange them evenly spaced on a tray lined with baking paper and make indentations in a row down the center of the focaccias.
Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, pecorino cheese and micro thyme leaves. Let rise for another 15 minutes and then bake in an oven that has been preheated to 190° for 25-30 minutes until they become golden brown.
Makes six servings.
1 container (500 gr.) sunflower sprouts
2 spicy peppers roasted over a flame, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 whole lemon, peeled and cut into thin strips or quarters
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Serving suggestion:
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 section of a pomelo or other citrus fruit
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Before serving, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and citrus fruit.
Makes six servings.
1 skinless salmon fillet (1.1 kg)
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
50 gr. melted butter
4 phyllo sheets
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. mustard
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Container (30 gr.) of mustard microgreens
Drizzle lemon juice, salt and pepper on salmon and let sit for an hour.
Place a filo sheet on your work surface and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and brush with butter. Continue until you’ve placed all four layers. In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard and garlic and then spread on the salmon. Place salmon on top of phyllo sheets and then sprinkle with microgreens.
Lift up sides of phyllo dough and fold over the salmon. Pinch edges to secure around the fish. Brush with more butter. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 20 minutes until it turns golden brown. Serve with a salad of fresh microgreens.
Salad of microgreens to serve with salmon
Add 30 grams each of the following microgreens: cilantro, radish, beets, broccoli and red mustard. Add them all to a bowl and season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix and adjust seasoning.
Makes four to six servings of pasta; the ingredients listed for the pasta seasoning and sauce are for only one serving.
400 gr. durum flour, sifted
4 eggs
80 gr. micro thyme leaves
For cooking pasta:
Pot to hold 3 liters of water
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
For 1 serving of pasta:
5 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Additional kosher salt
For 1 serving of sauce:
1 container (30 gr.) micro red or green basil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
10 gr. pine nuts, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Add the flour and eggs to the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook and mix for five to seven minutes.
Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand until dough becomes hard to knead. Place in the fridge to set for two hours.
Separate the dough into four sections. Flatten each section a little and put it into a pasta machine that’s on level 7 or 8. Sprinkle with a little flour every once in a while so that it doesn’t stick.
Place the sheet of dough on your work surface and brush a little water on top of half of the sheet with a silicone brush. Sprinkle other half with thyme leaves and then roll up sheet. Put dough through pasta maker another two times, this time on level 6. Prepare the rest of the pasta in the same fashion. Using a knife, cut strips that are 1-cm. wide and 10 to 12 cm. long.
Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the oil and salt and bring back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3-5 minutes and then drain.
To prepare the herbs, heat the oil in a pan and sauté the garlic until it’s golden brown. Then, add the pasta and mix. Add the kosher salt and a little bit of the water that the pasta was cooked in and cook for another minute. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with a little olive oil.
To prepare the sauce, add all the ingredients (except for the oil) to the bowl of a mixer and blend. While mixing, pour in olive oil.
Put one to two tablespoons of sauce in a large pan and sauté. Add the pasta and mix, season with salt and pepper and a little water from the pasta. Cook for another minute and add more sauce if necessary. Just before serving, drizzle with a little olive oil.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.