One of the things I’ve liked most about moving to Southern California (though I’m really an East Coaster at heart) , is the abundance of farmers’ markets with fresh produce year round. On most Saturday mornings we head to the one in Pasadena and load up on fruits and veggies. Admittedly, the pickings are a lot more interesting in the spring and summer when there are more varieties of fruit than you could possibly afford to buy (though sampling them all is fun). But at the same time, the winter is a good time for me to try new produce that would be overshadowed by more flashy fruits and veggies in the warm months. This season there are piles of potatoes of every sort, lots of fennel, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts.
Last week, I decided to try out mustard greens, which I had certainly never cooked with before and couldn’t even remember ever tasting. I found a recipe in the cookbook Dylan gave me for my birthday last year, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley, which is a James Beard award winning cookbook. A lot of the recipes are a bit more involved than I can usually handle with unusual ingredients that we certainly don’t have in our pantry, but this one was simple and had a short ingredient list. Overall, I was pleased with them…lots of flavor with very little fat and calories. I think I would have simmered them even longer if I had had the time, but even though the greens were not quite “melt in your mouth”, they were still pretty tasty.
Spicy Mustard Greens with Cumin
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper see,brded and finely chopped or 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large bunch mustard greens (about 2 lbs) chopped into bite-sized pieces
cider vinegar, pepper, and coarse sea salt to taste
1. Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno (or red pepper), and cumin and saute for 2-3 minutes more. Add the rinsed mustard greens and raise the heat. Stir the greens until the wilt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 25-30 minutes, until the greens are tender.
2. Season with vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.