With farmer’s markets re-opening in temperate locations across the country, for many home cooks it opens the door to adding new varieties of leafy greens to the home garden. Asian greens provide a rich source of vitamins and plenty of flavor interest to raw salads and stir-frys. Here’s a little primer of options that your local organic growers might be bringing to market this year.
Frisee: This type of chicory boasts sweet, curly leaves that add a beautiful flair to salads, and soups. Try some in a seafood pasta salad!
Red Rain Mizuna: This slightly bitter Japanese salad green with a mustardy flavor adds a delicious spice to green salads.
Tsoi-Sim Purple: Once these beautiful leaves turn purple and sprout dainty yellow flowers, this plant adds an attractive and delicious texture and flavor to stir-fry and salads. It’s also excellent steamed with a dash of oil, or butter and salt.
Japanese Salt Wort: This fun-looking succulent plant is great added to smoothies, delicious steamed and adds a delightful crunch to salads and stir frys. It boasts high levels of vitamin A, calcium and potassium, too!
Orach: This deep purple-leafed plant is a close relative of spinach and can be prepared the same way. Try sautéing some and adding it to pasta with a splash of olive oil, or make a sauce with it, combining its leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 1 shallot, cottage cheese, sour cream and lemon juice!