Friday, December 28, 2007

CSA week five - braised greens with lop chong

This, I've got to admit, didn't work out so well. Not that adding a bit of sausage to greens is a bad idea. If you've been reading a while, you know that I don't think adding a bit of sausage to just about anything is a bad idea. The sauce--soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a bit of sugar--worked fine as well. You've another version of that flavor profile in the sugar and vinegar-based hot sauces added to American greens recipes. No, the problems here were a) the Sichuan peppercorns weren't well crushed so they remained unpleasant crunchy woody bits in the thin sauce, and b) another mess of greens that wilted down into a bowl full of stems.

That latter problem seems to be characteristic of the sort of mid-weight greens we've been getting a bunch of most every week. For light greens, like spinach or arugula, the stems wilt and soften along with the leaves. For tough greens, the stems are incorrigible and removed as a matter of course. But with these greens in-between--mizuna, tatsoi, hon tsai tai, and baby versions of the tough greens--the amount of cooking that tenderizes the stems does the leaves in.

The solution may be to remove the stems, chop them up and cook them for a couple minutes before adding the leaves. Hardly seems worth all the trouble though. If anyone has a suggestion for an alternative method that works for you, I'd like to hear it.

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