Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vegetable Find: Chinese Broccoli

A girl can only eat so much kale.  I don't know about y'all but I can easily fall into a vegetable rut.  I often go to the Asian grocery for broth making ingredients and have often admired the long vegetable aisle full of green leafy vegetables sometimes labeled in English and most of the time not but have never been brave enough to get anything.  I decided it was high time I got over that fear and bought a book about Asian vegetables by Sara Deseran. The book has nice pictures of various vegetables used in Asian cooking, the many names they go by at the store, general storage advice and basic preparation ideas.  It also has some really tasty looking recipes that I'm not certain I have the skill to make paleo, but maybe one day.   

I decided to start with Chinese Broccoli. Ms. Deseran says that this vegetable is mainly bought for the stems that she says are asparagus flavored.  The leaves are edible as well she notes.   

I decided to use this recipe as inspiration for preparing my Chinese Broccoli.   Now that I look at it again, I realize I didn't use much of the recipe as written, but it helped me get in the kitchen.  

I started by removing the leaves from the stems.  Just look at all of this lovely green from just one bunch of Chinese broccoli.

If you're thinking that this looks nothing like broccoli, you're right, until you cut it up.  Inside the greens, you might find a little floret similar to the broccoli most of use are used to buying.  

I washed the stems, trimmed off the ends and cut them in half length wise.  I also chopped up a green onion.  I washed the greens and spun them dry in my salad spinner.  

I heated one tablespoon of olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil was hot, I added the green onion.  Almost immediately after adding the onions, I added the Chinese Broccoli stems.  

After the stems had softened a bit, I added the greens to the pan and moved them around to allow them to wilt just like I would when preparing any other green.  The main thing here is to watch your pan, move the greens around.  I put the lid on the pan for a few minutes to get the greens to wilt down a bit more.

Keep stirring and maybe put the lid on to encourage the greens to wilt.

When the greens looked ready, I almost added some coconut aminos, but decided against it.  I did add about a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and called them done.  

I apologize for not getting a picture of the greens alone, but here they are done.  Despite that gorgeous salmon getting in the way, look at the vibrant green.  Don't worry, I'll blog the salmon next week.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients: I've only seen Chinese broccoli at the Asian grocery.  This bunch was about 1 pound and cost $1.49/pound.  

Clean Up:  Everything except my sauté pan went into the dishwasher.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  I forgot to put a timer on when I made this but I'll say it took me about It took me about 7 minutes to prepare the vegetable to cook and then about 8-10 minutes to cook. Make sure to watch your pan and and decide when the greens are done to your liking.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  First, from an ingredient standpoint, this gives you the best of both  texture worlds:  crunchy stems and greens.  I was really impressed with the yield of how much edible vegetable matter one bunch produced.  

From a preparation standpoint, I am so glad that I did not add coconut aminos.  I'm sure it would be fine if I did, but for this first time trying this vegetable, not adding them let me tasted the wonderful fresh broccoli flavor with just a touch toasted nuttiness from the sesame oil.  

Yes, this tasted just like broccoli to me, just with a different texture bonus of the greens.  This vegetable has earned a place in my vegetable/meal rotation.  

Have any of you given some of the vegetables at ethnic groceries a try?  What's your favorite?