I have had a wonderful problem this past week — what to do with a fridge full of Gotham Greens Lettuce. Gotham Greens donated a massive amount of their hydroponic lettuce to our opening reception at MoMA PS1 last weekend, and I was the beneficiary of the leftovers. A Butter Lettuce salad has been incorporated into nearly every meal I have eaten over the past 7 days, and incredibly, I yet to reach my limit.
The thing about hydroponic lettuce is that, it is flawless. Each leaf is in-tact, making it the perfect vehicle for spreads, dips and herbs (check out the photos of their Gowanus rooftop urban farm to get a sense of what I am talking about here). Like most “Asian” dishes that I attempt, this dish evolved into something totally other than the traditional Larb that I enjoyed so much on my trip to Thailand this past Fall. I substituted shrimp for poultry, and jazzed it up with some Thai basil pesto and eggplant caviar (eggplant caviar has nothing to do with fish roe, it is just delicious eggplant mush in which the vegetable seeds resemble tiny eggs). The pesto was an improvisational work – Thai basil, fish sauce, chili, honey garlic, peanuts and sesame oil, all the building blocks of Thai cookery in one green paste. Give it a whirl, it is wonderful on toast or tossed with Soba noodles.