During Chef Lon Lane’s presentation of “Eat Your Greens” at The Art of Catering Food 2014, it’s all about what else, but greens. He opens the eyes of caterers by presenting substitutions of common spinach and lettuces with Super greens and keeping it healthy with grilling, griddling, sautéing, shaving, roasting and fried preparations. Think Braised Kale and Chard lasagna with Grilled Chicken and Sautéed Mushrooms, or Endive Petals with Grilled Eggplant Escalavida, Goat Cheese & Arugula. Rainbow Chard can also be added to layers of Scalloped Potatoes to make a heartier dish.
Grilled greens can also add an added flavor element and ‘wow’ factor. How about creating a grilled salad bar for a change? Use Hearts of Romaine, Endive, Radicchio, Artichoke hearts, Fiddlehead fern and pair it with fresh arugula, baby kale and hearts of palm. Serve with your favorite flavored balsamic vinegars or dressings.
Your catering menu also gets an added kick when you bring in elements foraged from the wild such as dandelion greens, nettles, radish tops, thistles, fiddlehead ferns, sorrel and beet greens. You can top pizzas with them and drizzle with a balsamic reduction. Or how about trying a Radish Top Soup topped with Diced Pickled Radish and Creme Fraiche?
Use greens to give pestos or aoilis a twist with various combinations of arugula and parsley or parsley and Myer lemon; flavor oils with herbal and grassy hints as an extra condiment. Pickled greens such as kimchee are also all the rage.
And when you least expect it, greens can also make a surprising palate cleanser and dessert! Parsley sorbet topped with Preserved Lemon or Lemon Lavender Granita with Rosemary will surely impress your clients between courses. Or try a Cilantro Granita served over Grilled Mango with fresh lime zest.
At the end of the day, greens don’t have to be relegated to being a side kick on your plate. The use of greens are infinite and add healthful, flavorful and unique flavor profiles to any dish you prepare. So think green, make your menu stand out and leave customers walking away knowing they did good for their bodies with a meal catered by you!