Cherry Tomatoes (Sungold & Honeydrop)
Tomatoes (Orange Blossom, Celebrity, or Betalux)
Asian Salad Mix (Red Mustards, Tokyo Bekana, Mizuna, Tatsoi)
Romano Beans, Padron, or Shishito Peppers
Frisee (Curly Endive)
Shiso is used throughout Asia both medicinally and as an herb, especially popular in Japanese, Korean, and southeast Asian cuisines. In Virginia it is known as Perilla and is a native plant that is common throughout the Piedmont. On our farm we have the green variety and it grows on the edges of wood lines and in other slightly shaded areas. The wild variety is not as pungent as some cultivated types, but it is still amazing used in herb salads, spring rolls, and even granita.
Padron peppers are the most famous produce of Padrón Galicia Spain. They are served fried with olive oil and coarse salt. Most taste sweet and mild, though some are particularly hot and spicy, which gives its character to the dish and is perfectly captured in the popular “Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non” (Galician for “Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not”). The level of heat varies according to the capsaicin of each pepper. Although it’s not always the case, the peppers grown towards August/September tend to contain more capsaicin than the ones of June/July.
Shishito peppers come from Eastern Asia and are popular in Japanese cuisine. Like Padrons, they are a roulette pepper with the majority being mild and an occasional fiery and hot. They can be eaten raw, blistered with olive oil or sesame oil, added to skewers with other grilled vegetables, or tempura battered.
Shiso Granita – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
15 green shiso leaves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Place the shiso leaves in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat the sugar and 3 cups water to boiling in a medium saucepan, stirring the sugar to dissolve. Pour the boiling sugar water over the leaves and steep until cool. Set a strainer over a plastic container large enough to hold 3 cups and strain out the leaves. Cover and transfer the shiso-flavored sugar water to a freezer shelf. Let sit, undisturbed, in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove to the countertop, open the lid, and gently stir in the crystals that have formed on the perimeter. Repeat this operation every 30 minutes, breaking up any larger crystals as you go. The finished granita should be flaky. Serve alone in a glass bowl or goblet. This is also wonderful served alongside Fig Ice Cream and Plum Sorbet. Keeps frozen for several weeks.
Carrot and Mitsuba Salad with Citrus – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
3 cups julienned Carrots
2 Tbls julienned Negi or Scallions (white and light green parts)
¼ tsp Salt
2 Tbls mild Citrus Juice (Yuzu, Meyer Lemon, Seville Orange)
2 Tbls Rapeseed Oil
Handful of Mitsuba (Substitute Cilantro, Lovage, or Chervil
Place the carrots and scallions in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Gently toss. Measure the citrus juice in a small bowl and whisk in the oil. Pour over the carrots and onion and mix slightly to distribute the vinaigrette. Add the mitsuba (or cilantro) leaves and toss once. Serve on gorgeous small plates that show off the bright colors of the salad. Be sure to serve from the bottom, since the dressing quickly drips down, and prop up a few mitsuba leaves on the individual plates to add a bit of pop.
Chopped Summer Salad with Miso – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1 medium red or orange tomato, cored
1Japanese cucumber, unpeeled
4 small green peppers, cored and seeded
2.5 oz “cotton” or silk tofu
1 Tbls organic miso
1 Tbls organic rice vinegar
2 Tbls organic rapeseed oil
6 shiso leaves, cut into fine threads
Chop the tomato, cucumber, and green peppers into 1/4-inch uniform dice and scrape each one into the same medium-sized bowl. Do not toss. Cut the tofu carefully into ½-inch squares. Muddle the miso with the vinegar and whisk in the oil. Right before serving, toss the vegetables, then spoon onto individual plates. Drizzle with the miso dressing, drop a few cubes of tofu on top, and strew with shiso threads. Serve immediately.
Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn) When we make these we let everyone prepare their own, as it makes for a really fun meal activity. As the recipe states, you can substitute various herbs’ we particularly like thai basil, shiso, and mint together. We always add julienned slivers of scallions and sometimes substitute shredded pork or shrimp for tofu.