Garden Grazing ‘10: Spring Edition – Pt II: Mustard Greens

Mustard is probably one of my favorite words in all the English language…. I like the color, the seeds, I like parable, I love the condiment, and I love the vegetable – mustard greens.

When I suggested that we plant mustard seeds for the Spring, I think The SFW (Super Fantastic Wife) thought I was a little off, which is not a far stretch some days. I knew that she had no experience growing mustard greens and I knew that she did not even like eating mustard, the condiment. What she did not know was that I had never grown mustard greens either… and what’s more, I did not have that much experience eating them.

My family generally ate collard and turnip greens when I was growing up and, normally, the greens endured a steamy, spicy braising liquid before reaching the plate. Mustard greens where not a common childhood vegetable. I imagine for two reasons: The first, they are pungently strong, like a grassy horseradish-y flavor. The second, a huge bunch of mustards greens cooks dramatically down to barely a serving for two… and the cost in the market is about the same as for a huge bunch of collards and turnips which yield a higher return after cooking. Since the flavor profile is not one that appeals to children and the cost is higher per serving, I can understand why this green did not always make it to my childhood dinner table.

The flavor profile of mustard greens greatly appeals to my adult palate and growing them at home from seed only costs pennies. The entire mustard green is edible – the seeds, the leaves, and the stems – so there is no waste. Growing mustard greens could not be any easier. Being a member of the cabbage family, mustard greens are a cool season vegetable. The best time to start your crop in South Florida is not during the summer – January and February is best. Once the greens start to grow, harvest weekly to have fresh mustard greens all Spring long.

Mustard greens are a prolific vegetable… the more you harvest the more it grows… and the more the imaginative the ways to serve them become. I dropped a bunch into the braising liquid for the St Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. I steamed a bunch, combined them with sweet caramelized onions, nutty Gruyere cheese, and baked them into a delectable quiche for brunch. I sautéed a bunch in olive oil with shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and served them alongside a seared steak. I dropped a few baby mustard green leaves into a mix of baby lettuces, drizzled with a Lemon and Olive Oil Vinaigrette, and topped with salty shards of Parmigiano Reggiano. I cut a bunch into chiffonade and folded them into a creamy risotto of shrimp and saffron. I even went online and found a method to make my own pickled mustard greens once I read about using them as a condiment to Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup. (I knew I had to make the the soup if just to eat the pickled mustard greens.)

My Recipe: Quick and Simple Sautéed Mustard Greens serves 2

1 bunch fresh mustard greens, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped
1 – 2 T olive oil
1 small shallot, sliced
1 garlic, finely minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper, optional
lemon wedge, optional

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil

Add shallots, sauté until translucent; about 30 seconds

Add red pepper flakes and garlic; sauté for 10 seconds

Add chopped mustard greens; sauté for 10 seconds

Cover pan and remove from heat; let stand for 1 minute; season with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, if using, to taste; and serve with a wedge of lemon, if desired

No matter how you prepare mustard greens their flavor does not fall into the background. They take well to most all methods of cooking and they pair well with flavors that are just as strong like red pepper flakes, Parmigiano Reggiano, saffron, salted and cured beef and pork, and lemon.

Mustard greens will grow into the summer, where their flavor promises to become stronger and more pungent. Most varieties bolt slowly and provide generally provide more than enough seeds to get the crop ready for the next growing season.

always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!

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About tawannapatrice

...a native south floridian, i am an artisan baker, personal caterer, and sarcastic demented librarian chick who finds life unbearable without immersing yourself in your true passions…
This entry was posted in Food .T.A.S.T.E., Vegetables, Vegetarian/Vegan and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Garden Grazing ‘10: Spring Edition – Pt II: Mustard Greens

  1. Terry Minnow says:

    Hi Tawanna-Patrice,

    The Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup looks yummy. Can you tell me where I can get a recipe for it and the Pickled Mustard Greens?

    Your blog is one of my favorites. I made your Crab and Asparagus Salad for the Easter buffet table and we all loved it. I like that you did not do too much with the dressing for the salad so that you really could taste the sweet crab meat and not a lot of mayo and spices.

    • tawannapatrice says:

      Hi Terry:

      Thanks for the comments and reading my blog.

      It is always nice to hear from people that not only read my blog, but they also try the recipes. I am glad you and your guests enjoyed the Crab and Asparagus Salad. I wish I had some today for lunch… right now! Ha! The next time you make a dish, please dont be shy about taking a picture and sending it to me. I will definitely post your picture on the blog.

      As for the Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup and Pickled Mustard Greens, if you click in the words in the blog you will open the link to the location of both items. They Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup was in the March 2010 issue of bon appetite magazine. The Pickled Mustard Greens recipe was an internet find at the purplehousedirt.com.

      Thank you for the kind words, reading, and subscribing. Now I must go find me some lunch.

      ~tawanna-patrice

    • tawannapatrice says:

      Oh yeah… you can also buy the Pickled Mustard Greens from an Asian food market… but why would you want to buy them when you have fresh mustard greens growing in your backyard just waiting for the opportunity to become Piclked Mustard Greens.

      Ok… so maybe that was just me. LOL!

  2. Aimee says:

    That quiche looks fabulous and hearty. Can you please give the recipe?

    • tawannapatrice says:

      Hi Aimee:
      Thanks for reading, subscribing… and the comment. This quiche was pretty hearty and made for a substantial lunch with just a green salad. Making the quiche is really simple.

      Basic Quiche Recipe:
      4 large eggs
      2 cups heavy cream OR 1 cup almond or soy milk and 1 cup non-dairy creamer
      1 cup shredded Gruyere OR Jarlsberg, Emmental, or Kerry Gold Irish Swish Cheese
      2 tsp kosher salt
      1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, optional… but a MUST if using any kind of greens
      1 par-baked deep-dish pie crust, homemade OR store-bought

      To make the Mustard Greens and Caramelized Onion Quiche…. add the following to the Basic Quiche Recipe:

      2 cups steamed mustard greens, drained and squeezed of all liquid (start with a 1 huge bunch)
      1/2 cup caramelized onions

      Method:

      Preheat oven to 350-degrees

      Combine eggs, heavy cream (or dairy alternative), kosher salt, and nutmeg

      In par-baked pie crust layer some cheese, some onions; some greens; repeat layering; pour in egg-cream mixture to fill pie crust; bake in center of oven for 40 – 50 minutes until puffy on outer edges and a little jiggly in the middle; remove from oven; cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before serving

      Makes 6 – 8 hearty servings.

      ~tawanna-patrice

      • Aimee says:

        Thanks Tawana-Patrice.

        I really enjoy your blog and your recipes. Your SFW must be very happy and well-fed!

        Thanks again. I am going to try the quiche this weekend for brunch.

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