Farmer Lee Jones / January 13th, 2013
In our search for new and different ingredients that offer a unique flavor, look, or texture to the plate, sometimes all it takes is looking at something in a new way. Corn is the epitome of a commodity crop, so it wasn’t the first thing we thought of in our experimentation. When we finally tried popcorn shoots, boy, were we surprised!
Popcorn shoots are micro greens grown from popcorn kernels. They have a bright yellow color, which is achieved by growing them in lightless conditions that prevent photosynthesis and the production of chlorophyll. A favorite among pastry chefs, these delicate, feather-like stems are tantalizingly sweet and add height to the presentation. They pair naturally with dessert, but an ambitious culinarian can find use for them in savory applications as well. Chef Brian Piasecki of California Grill at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Bunavista, Florida, incorporated them into togarashi spiced yellowfin tuna with petite Asian greens, soy syrup, and wasabi cream to the delight of diners at Veggie U’s Annual Food & Wine Celebration.