Now is the time when markets are hit by the green wave of spring. Suddenly, produce aisles are brimming with fresh arugula—a jumble of graceful scrollwork edges—rich green collards, blushing red radicchio and the pale-green mop-top of frisée. Nowhere are these fresh greens more awe-inspiring than in the produce aisle of Eataly, Manhattan's new Italian mega-grocery. Bountiful displays of over 35 varieties of leafy greens all vie for attention in what has to be one of the most tricked-out veggie aisles in the country.
The brainchild of chef Oscar Farinetti—who co-owns it with his partners Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich—Eataly boasts over 50,000 square feet of food under one roof interspersed with a gaggle of restaurants, including one—Le Verdure—devoted to vegetables. At Le Verdure, head chef Kiah Lotus is constantly working on new ways to highlight the best greens of the season. And according to Lotus, shoppers are always wondering about them. "They want to cook greens, but aren't sure how to make them delicious. They want to know if they have to cook them for a long time or just sauté them? Usually, it's much simpler than people think."