Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chrysanthemum Greens Salad

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Beachwood pick-up this week:

Chrysanthemum greens
Butter lettuce
Adolescent red and green romaine
Italian parsley

One of my favorite things is being introduced to a new and delicious flavor, and chrysanthemum greens were new to me last week. I'm sure I've seen them in Asian markets, but I never cooked with them until Tara presented me with a bunch. They have a mild, fresh, and slightly sweet flavor somewhat like parsley crossed with celery tops and a faint but noticeable aroma of chrysanthemums.

I experimented with several preparations: They were fine sauteed in a little oil, but be careful not to overcook them. When I added green garlic to the mix, I thought it over-powered the delicate flavor of the greens, but if you're a garlic-lover, you might think differently.

I was happiest with a simple little salad tossed with an Asian-style dressing which complemented the floral notes in the greens:

Chrysanthemum Greens Salad

1 bunch chrysanthemum greens
1/2 small Japanese cucumber
1 T toasted sesame oil
1-2 T rice vinegar
pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the chrysanthemum greens. Sprin dry. Remove any woody stems. Compost the stems. Break or chop the greens into bite-sized pieces and place them in a mixing bowl.

2. Wash, but don't peel the cucumber. Slice it very thinly. Add the cucumber to the mixing bowl with the greens.

3. In a small cup or bowl, mix together the sesame oil and the rice vinegar. Add a pinch of sugar, if you'd like. Mix briskly until combined.

4. Pour dressing over salad and toss until all the leaves are coated.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you'd like, try adding a little mango, peeled and chopped; or some chopped Asian pear.



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