Giving Thanks to Tatsoi
My pal Ms. B. and her two kinder just stopped by for an early morning coffee and oatmeal cookie snack. In between feeding the baby and wrestling with Zoe, the little minx, over the magic markers, B. asked me what I had in mind for Thanksgiving.
Aside from my locally-raised turkey (due for pickup from Smith Meadows this Sunday at Columbia Pike Market) and a batch of apple sauce (or will it be cranberries?), I told her I was unsure about the rest of the feast.
"I need to get inspired," I said. "Perhaps when I go to market this weekend." And then I remembered the stunning rosettes of tatsoi I bought yesterday at Clarendon farm market, from Sunnyside Farms, in Washington, Va.
Although a member of the Brassica family, tatsoi (a.k.a. tai koo choi in Asian markets) cooks and tastes like spinach. Its ruffly green leaves are tender enough to eat raw and mild enough to take on all kinds of flavor personalities.
I love the idea of whipping up my Thanksgiving green veg in about five minutes, particularly with a warmed tangy mustard dressing (see details below) that will cut against the fat in all the other trimmings. The idea sounds so clean, so fresh and best of all, so easy.
If I can't get my hands on more of the beautiful Miss Tatsoi this weekend, my plan B will be a pot of slow-cooked collard or turnip greens.
Now, if only I could equally excited about a starch for sopping up gravy....
What has been your source of inspiration this week as you prep for Thanksgiving? Got a favorite veggie side dish to share? Do so in the comments area below.
Join me at 1 p.m. today for an hour of Thanksgiving-exclusive chitter chatter.
Tatsoi Wilted in Mustard Dressing
From "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" by Elizabeth Schneider
About 1 pound tatsoi
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Â¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Trim tatsoi bases to separate leaves. Rinse in several changes of water, inspecting for grit. Dry thoroughly.
Clean scallions and trim root. Separate lighter colored bulb and darker green tops. Mince bulbs and thinly slice greens. Mix bulbs with lemon juice, mustard and salt, stirring to dissolve salt. Blend in oil.
Pour dressing into a very wide skillet set over moderate heat. Add leaves and turn to coat with dressing (tongs are most efficient). Cook until leaves almost wilt but stems retain crunch, about 2 minutes. Add scallion greens and toss.
Arrange on a platter, lined up like asparagus. Pour any remaining dressing on top.
Makes four side-dish servings.
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