Using up my CSA farm veggies, Part 2 (or taming the mustard green)

Mustard Greens = curled mustard Notes: These are more popular in the South than in the rest of the country. There are red and green varieties, and both have a peppery bite. If the greens are too pungent for your taste, you can tame them by blanching them in salted water. Substitutes: gai choy (less pungent) OR escarole (less pungent) OR kale (less pungent) OR Swiss chard (less pungent) OR spinach (less pungent; cooks more quickly) OR radish greens
From Cook’s Thesaurus (www.foodsubs.com)

Did you notice how many times the substitutions are “less pungent”!
Mustard greens are still in my fridge along with a head of turnip greens, beet greens and some spinach from my UBC farm CSA box.

I pulled out the old arsenal for ideas: Greene on Greens by Bert Greene, Workman Publishing, 1984- learn to love your veggies! this is an indispensable guide for any cook especially CSA members who end up getting veggies they have never heard of. Chances are, he has and his recipes for over 30 types of vegetables are collected from several decades of cooking.

Bert Greene reworks recipes. I decided to follow this technique and went searching on the net for ‘cooking mustard greens’ and then I came across this gem:

Makki Ki Roti aur Sarson Ka Saag from A Chef and Her Kitchen. A recipe of blanched greens, pureed and cooked with ginger, coriander, garlic, jalapenos and butter. Served over corn rotis.

Perhaps it was my ayurveda inspired quinoa earlier this week but I was in the mood for more indian style food. My collection of greens was building up in the fridge. I was excited for 3 days looking forward to making this dish. The results: the combination of greens mixed with the ginger, coriander, jalapenos and butter was actually really savoury. The flavours are soothing, somewhat sweet with slight spiciness from the ginger and coriander.

Traditionally the Sarson Ka Saag is serverd on cornmeal roti; but I got fancy and stuffed the Sarson Ka Saag into cornmeal crepes and added a bit of blender hollandaise to the finished crepes.

The final recipe is a combination of three recipes for Sarson Ka Saag:

  • Chef and her Kitchen. I used her cooking method. Traditionally the greens are braised for over an hour however I wanted to try her version with blanched greens since this will not only keep more nutrients in veggies but the quick blanch preserves the beautiful green colour.
  • Anjali’s Blog . Here is a traditional recipe including notes on the history of the dish.
  • Sanjeev Kapoor/Food & Wine. I used the ideas in this recipe to prep the onions. A food processor was indispensable and saved a lot of time. I also like his idea of making the greens as a grilled roti “pizza”.
  • and a crepe batter from epicurious. This is my first attempt at savoury crepes. This batter recipe has a hint of cumin. Make sure to let your batter sit for 30 min. at room temperature.Here is what I did, with thanks and apologies to the cooks above:
        Greens, rinsed and chopped ( 1 bunch mustard greens, 1 bunch turnip greens, 1 bunch beet greens, 1 bunch spinach)
        2 x garlic cloves
        2 x jalapenos, seeded
        2″ thumb of ginger
        1 large onion
        2T butter & 1 T olive oil (I did not have ghee, so I used plain old unsalted butter and some olive oil)
        2 t coriander, ground
        2T cornmeal
        Salt to taste
        1 C water or reserved cooking liquid from the greens.

    *I blanched the greens for 6 minutes and added the spinach in the last 2 minutes. Drain, refresh in cool water bath, drain again.The cooking water was incredibly aromatic, almost like hibiscus. I saved a cup to use for the rest of the recipe instead of water.
    *Meanwhile I put the garlic, onion, jalapenos and ginger in the food processor and pulsed a few times until they were finely chopped.
    *Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the butter/olive oil. Add the onion mixture and a pinch of salt and saute until soft, around 10 min.
    *Squeeze the water out of the greens and pulse them in the food processor until they are a chunky puree. Add the green puree to the skillet along with the coriander and cornmeal. Add a little water/cooking liquid (per Sanjeev I added 1/4 C first). I cooked this for about 30 minutes on med-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water/cooking liquid when it looked dry.

    *Meanwhile, make the crepes! Don’t forget to let your batter sit for 1/2 hour at room temp. The beautiful thing about crepes is that you can make a ton of them and keep them in the fridge for leftovers. These crepes had a hint of cumin in the batter which I thought went very well with the Sarson Ka Saag. The crepes hold up well with the greens inside.

    It looks like a lot of effort but it is in fact incredibly easy. From start to finish you can have this ready and plated in an hour. This makes really good leftovers. This is also an incredibly budget friendly meal.

    Enjoy.


    Mustard Greens: Follow this link from WHFoods for detailed nutritional benefits.

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One Comment to “Using up my CSA farm veggies, Part 2 (or taming the mustard green)”

  1. Your version sounds nice and delicious…Thanks for the mention

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