Nice to Meet You
Discovering a new ingredient at a farmer’s market is like meeting a potential new friend at a party. The small talk is basically the same, and when the answers click, excitement grows, and before you know it you are going home together. (Fortunately, my hubby is open to this sort of threesome.)
I tried to play it cool this weekend but when bright greens winked at me with yellow flowers, I stumbled over myself to ask, who are you?
Choy sum, of course.
Oh, okay. And where are you from?
China, by way, of upstate New York.
What do you do for a living?
What? Have you been living under a rock? Think of me as the savoir-faire of greens. More tender then kale or spinach, but not meek like arugula and romaine. All the sweetness, but none of the bloat, of Bibb and generally refraining from any ornery bitterness no matter my situation...
Its brag was not unfounded:
Some Choy Sum Dish
~ ½ cup Broth (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled, minced or pressed
3 medium shallots, slices
1 cup fresh soybeans, shelled
1 small bell pepper (preferably not green), diced
2 bunches choy sum, bottom stems mostly removed (about 4 cups leaves and flowers)
2 Tbs sesame seeds
Fish sauce and cayenne to taste.
Coat a pan in olive oil. Sauté on medium heat garlic, ginger, shallots - with or without broth - until tender, adding fish sauce and cayenne as the shallots begin to release some of their liquid.
Add soybeans and sauté until no longer crisp but still firm. Add pepper and half of the sesame seeds. Sauté 30 seconds before adding choy sum. Cover and allow greens to wilt, stirring intermittently. Adjust seasonings. Serve with steamed rice.