Sunday, January 25, 2009
The method is not new to FC, but the vegetable is (so new, I am still not sure what the stuff is.) Last Thursday I hit the farmer's market late, already hungry and looking for something to throw together for dinner. I hadn't eaten any vegetables all day and a pile of feathery leafed precut and washed greens caught my eye.
Pepper: "Hey, what is this stuff?"
Vendor: [incomprehensible sichuanese]
Pepper: "How do you cook it?" (The reply is usually a one-word answer - stir-fry, soup, stew...)
Pepper: "How about soup?"
Vendor indicates no.
Strange. Pepper picks off a leaf and nibbles. The clean-breaking leaf and slight bitterness put this in the brassica family. Some kind of kale?
After getting home I piled a few handfuls of greens on a baking sheet and drizzled them with 2 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. I put them in my toaster oven at 180 deg C for ten minutes, or until they started to smell toasty. I have not yet met any green thing that loves to be roasted as much - the feathery leaves darkened, the firmer stems held their shape and got juicy, and the in-between parts got melting soft.
If anyone can help me figure out what the plant is, please leave a comment! My latest guess is young youcai.
UPDATE: Concluded that this is, in fact, baby youcai. (No thanks to another vendor today, who just kept repeating "It's just a vegetable. Vegetable. You stir-fry it. Stir Fry!") Our local supply has already mostly matured past the stage where it can be prepared like this, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.