Cornucopia, Ch 7
It’s hot and my house has no air conditioning. Consequently, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for using the cook top to make dinner. The oven is completely out of the question. And, as much as I love grilling, not every dish lends itself to an outdoors-grilled option. Given the variety of tasty leafy greens that I’m finding in my CSA box, I explored a different sauté option.
Norm the Grower delivered broccoli raab, Swiss chard, and radish greens, among other things. I enjoy all three but not raw. Heat’s chemically-transforming qualities are particularly welcoming with greens drawn from the spectrum’s bitter end. Minimizing stove-top cooking time, I hauled out my wok.
Woks are phenomenally flexible cooking instruments but I used mine to stir-fry the assorted greens as quickly as possible. I chopped and prepped everything before lighting the burner.
I washed the greens three times. I don’t mean dipping them in water three times. No, play it safe and change the sink’s water every time. No one likes chewing dirt grit.
I cut out the stems, separating them from the leaves. This allowed me to cook the stalks longer. I chopped a cup of garlic scapes then roughly chopped the broccoli raab and chard stems. We had a tub of sliced mushrooms on hand and I started those in the wok first.
After quickly heating the wok, I added a tablespoon of canola oil, swirling it, then added the mushrooms. When they’d softened, I added the scapes. After a minute or so, I added the chopped stems, stirring and turning them. I seasoned the cooking veggies, added a half-teaspoon of sugar and a glug of white wine. I added the greens, turned the mixture several times and then covered the wok, leaving it for three or four minutes.
Checking on my progress, I stirred and turned everything again, then doused the flame and added additional salt and pepper. I served the greens with grilled chicken breasts and crusty bread. This combination helped minimize the greens’ bitter qualities. Next time, I’ll leave out the white wine, dialing down the western flavors and boosting the Asian flavor elements, adding ginger and hoisin sauce. Not because this recipe disappointed but because using the wok reminded me of just how much I enjoy cooking and eating Asian food. There’s always next week’s CSA box.