Top chefs like their wines aged and their veggies young.
“People want to have things at their peak freshness,“ chef Adam Bordonaro tells The Post.
That’s why, like many chefs right now, he’s all about baby veggies at his West Village restaurant, Ardyn. These teensy eats are harvested early, so they’re ultra-fresh and adorably tiny, allowing for artful presentations.
“We’re getting stuff right out of the ground,” says Bordonaro, who currently offers several preparations of petite Thumbelina carrots, sourced from a local farm at roughly 10 times the cost of standard-size carrots.
Others are getting their tiny veggies from hydroponic operations, where plants are grown in a nutrient solution, instead of soil, in precise indoor or greenhouse conditions. Farm.One, a subterranean vertical farm housed beneath the two-Michelin-starred Tribeca restaurant Atera, provides bespoke ingredients for its upstairs neighbor, along with Eleven Madison Park, Eataly and Marea.
Meanwhile, at Shoji, a small omakase spot in Tribeca, chef Derek Wilcox is currently preparing young new potatoes that are only ¾-inch in diameter and have been out of the ground for less than a week. Customers are loving them.
“They’re especially creamy, but not as starchy as a full-grown potato,” Wilcox says. “A guest last night told me, ‘This has ruined potatoes for me forever.’ ”
Ready to shrink your plate? Add these bite-size veggies to your rotation.
Finally, an avocado where half doesn’t get tossed. Technically, these fruits aren’t babies but cleverly marketed small-yield crops, from seeds that produce smaller or fewer veggies in a given tract of soil. They ripen faster and are ideal for those who want to control their portions. Most important, one is just the right amount for a single slice of avocado toast. $3.99 for six at Trader Joe’s; TraderJoes.com
These fairy tale eggplants cook down into creamy deliciousness faster than their grown-up counterparts. Bordonaro suggests tossing whole eggplants in olive oil, salt and pepper, then wrapping them individually in foil with a few cloves of garlic. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until everything is tender. Then slice the eggplants lengthwise, smear with mashed garlic and sprinkle with Maldon salt. $10 per pound at the Norwich Meadows Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket; GrowNYC.org
The real baby carrots
Not to be confused with your grocery store’s bagged baby carrots, which are typically just carved-down versions of the larger vegetable, Thumbelina carrots are “very sweet, with a tender skin,” says Ardyn’s co-owner Ryan Lory. Bordonaro suggests roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, then serving them with a yogurt sauce. To boost the flavor, the chef says, “add any spice you like. We love using cumin.” $3.99 for a bag of six at Trader Joe’s; TraderJoes.com
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