Kitchen Stories, Recipes
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Green Ray Spring Salad (or how to get rid of your sprouts)

While the world had certainly more serious issues to deal with, yesterday I woke up scratching my head about the tangled mess of sprouts growing in my kitchen.

I tend to recurring enthusiasms for self-made, home-grown stuff. I guess it’s a side effect of my obsession with self-sufficiency: in case I ever find myself in charge of starting a new civilisation from scratch, I like to think that at least I would know how start a fire, build a shelter and bake good bread – I’d stick around if I were you.
Ideally, I would get to the point of stitching my own clothes, making my own pelati (peeled tomatoes) and preserves from my own produce, and only use the eggs laid by the three pet-chickens I will have one fine day (I dream of a vegetable garden and free range chickens hiding eggs in the backyard).

That’s clearly my hippie self living in her fantasy world. I respect her and try to keep off her playground. In return, she lets me shop in supermarkets, make frequent use of (non-sugared preservatives-free) canned beans, and live my normal life in the civilised world.
Over the years, while I was busy working, she has been growing lemons, strawberries, garlic, topinambour, all kinds of herbs, and sprouts.

If you have ever tried sprouting, you know how rewarding the life of a kitchen-shelf farmer can be. All you need to do to harvest your fresh crops is pour water on your seeds every day for 3-4 days.
Now the issue with seeds is that they are designed to grow fast and furious: a seed is like a micro bomb, with a load of life compressed is a tiny capsule and ready to explode against the constrains of gravity and atmospherical agents.
It’s very easy to underestimate the productivity of seeds.

If you don’t get the amount of seeds right, especially for plants like watercress or alfalfa, …you’re up to reap five times what you thought you sow. That’s good for you, because fresh sprouts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, proteins and fibre fresh sprouts.
However, I’m not here to sell you the health benefits of eating sprouting seeds (if you are after more information about the topic, I suggest you read this article by Tracey Roizman on SFGate.com). I just want to share a newborn recipe.

I often eat sprout in omelettes, or as topping for soups, however if your sprouts production got a bit out of hand you need to come up with new combinations to provide some variation.

Here’s my latest creation, which I named Green Ray Spring Salad (in a burst of wishful thinking, since we’re having kind of a whimsical autumn here in Amsterdam).

I rummaged the kitchen for inspiration and came up with the following:

  • Brown rice, quinoa and wheat mix – cook it and let it cool down before adding the rest
  • Grilled courgette – thin slices, about 0.5 cm thick
  • Fresh peas – boil them very quickly and let them cool
  • Wild asparagus – boil the stem a bit longer than the soft tips, you don’t want them to fall apart
  • Very thin omelette made with the following ingredients: 1 egg per person, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder, a pinch of grey salt – cut the omelette in strips.
  • Alfalfa and lentil sprouts – wash them thoroughly before use

Gently mix the ingredients and add some sprouts on top.

Voilà!

My Green Ray spring salad

I found the combination really fortunate. The taste is very refreshing and the ingredients fit nicely together. You might like to sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or a few drops of lemon juice on top, according to your taste. I used some gomasio.
If you try this dish, please let me know your thoughts.

P.S.: Healthy as they can be, sprouts can hide some risks, if the seeds are not properly washed, they are contaminated or you fail to water them regularly. The dampness of the growing tray can be home to harmful bacterial growth. Prefer certified hygienic seeds and water them frequently to avoid stagnation and moulding.
For a recent article on Food Safety Magazine about sprouting, click here.
You might also be interested in the publication Growing Seed Sprouts at Home by the University of California.

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