Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stir-Fried Asian Greens and Mushrooms

I am a shameless bargain hunter, even at the farmers' market. So when I saw that one of my favorite farms had a special on mustard greens and mizuna, I had to pick up one of each. Mustard greens have become more well-known in recent years, appearing in Indian, African, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, but mizuna hasn't reached quite the same level of awareness. Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard, is a peppery green, with a flavor similar to arugula, though a little less assertive in my opinion. It can be pickled, incorporated into a salad (e.g. in lieu of frisee), or, as I have chosen to do here, used in a stir-fry.

With leftover rice or a rice cooker, this meal truly takes 20 minutes, and would take even a bit less with pre-sliced mushrooms. While the mushrooms cook, there's time chop the greens and whisk the sauce together, which cook up quickly as soon as they get tossed in the pan. The earthy mushrooms and piquant greens complement each other nicely, but it's the balanced sweet, savory, toasty sauce that brings everything together. This would be a fine side dish on its own, but becomes a meal over a bed of rice or noodles, and more satisfying one with the addition of tofu, chicken, beef, or pork.

I used cremini mushrooms and mizuna to start, but there's certainly room to experiment with shiitakes, oyster mushrooms, hen of the woods, or just plain old button mushrooms. I like the peppery punch of mizuna, but bok choy or tatsoi would make fine substitutions, as could other non-Asian greens like mustard greens or even collards or kale. The bottom line - pick a mushroom, pick a green, and get to cooking.

Stir-Fried Asian Greens and Mushrooms
adapted from Gourmet
serves 2

8 ounces mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, etc.), sliced
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar or honey
3/4 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
4 to 5 ounces Asian greens (mizuna, tatsoi, etc.), chopped into large pieces
Rice, noodles, or other grain, for serving (optional)
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat a pan over medium high heat. Add oil, and when it begins to shimmer, add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mizuna and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are slightly wilted, another 1 or 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil together in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until sauce coats all the vegetables and is cooked to desired consistency, usually another 2 to 4 minutes. Serve promptly over rice or noodles, drizzled with hot sauce, if desired.

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