mustardy

Two days of sun and warmth followed by a good spring shower, and we’re starting to see our own food at the table again. Not to mislead anybody here, as a recent pea patch visit yielded one weathered radish, six spinach leaves and some sorrel, but also healthy bunches of kale and green mustard. Love that winter garden!

Actually, the kale and green mustard are almost too reliable lately, and I’ve been trying to branch out beyond the default of greens sauteed with garlic and hot pepper. But branching out can be a tricky conceit with green mustard, which is pungent whether raw or after brief cooking, and especially when eaten without the mitigating effect of less opinionated greens. This braise breaks down mustard’s heat and bitterness to a tolerable level and requires only that you think a bit ahead.

Braised Green Mustard

1 bunch green mustard (about 1 pound) / 1 tbls veg oil / ½ onion, minced / 2 tbls white rice / 1 tbls ginger, minced / ½ tsp cumin / ½ tsp paprika / ½ cup cilantro, including stems, chopped

Wash the greens without drying them. Remove large stems and slice remaining leaves thickly. Warm a deep pot over medium heat. Swirl in oil when ready. Add onion, rice, ginger, cumin, and paprika and cook for 2 minutes, then add cilantro and mustard. Add ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring, until greens wilt. Turn heat down to low and cook about 1 hour, adding a few tablespoons of water if the pot becomes dry. Adapted from Deborah Madison, who finishes her greens with yogurt on top and a squeeze of lemon.

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