Asian greens are one of my favorite things…they all seem to have a punch of flavor that we just don’t get from our western greens and lettuces. Granted, a lot of the greens used in Asian cuisines are actually brassicas, from the same family as broccoli and cabbage, and not even in the lettuce category. This also means they play a slightly different role in cuisine: instead of just eaten raw in salads, leafy brassicas can face pretty aggressive cooking, like stir frying, pickling, braising and steaming. Their flavor profiles are also described in much punchier terms than our western greens, like peppery, mustardy, and spicy. This hon tsai tai is an awesome example of the range of veggies that fall in the brassica category. Looking like a weird bouquet from an alien planet, it was one of the things I was most excited to receive from my friends at Local Roots. Its mild mustardy flavor lends itself to almost any dish that calls for cabbage or broccolini. While this recipe only calls for the leaves, make sure you're saving those stems for another use (just make sure to slice them really thin if using raw!)
HON TSAI TAI FRITATTA
serves 4 - 6
8 each eggs
1 bunch hon tsai tai
¾ c shiitake mushrooms
1 each onion
1 each garlic clove
½ tsp black sesame seeds
2 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
2 Tbs + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs water
Prep vegetables for your frittata. Pick the flowers of the hon tsai tai and set aside on a wet paper towel for garnish. Pull the leaves from the stalks, and roughly chop them. Save the stalks for another use.
Slice the shiitakes, and thinly slice the onion. Place a small skillet over medium high heat, and add the shiitakes to the dry pan. Let them cook, flipping with a wooden spoon when they start turning golden. Once the mushrooms are lightly browned on both sides, add one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, just enough to dampen the shiitakes. Fry 2-3 min more, until nicely golden on all sides, and it seems like most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil over medium heat. Smash the garlic clove, and put into the fat while it heats to infuse. Once the butter and oil are hot, remove the garlic clove, and bump the temperature up to high heat. Add the hon tsai tai greens to the pan, and sauté until just wilted, and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 min. Transfer to a plate with a paper towel to drain.
Add remaining oil and butter to the skillet, and lower heat to medium. Add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, and starting to look a little dry, about 5-7 min. Add one tablespoon of water, and keep cooking, letting onions go slightly golden, but not browned and crispy. Add another tablespoon of water, and let the onions cook down more. When they are brown and soft, they’re done, about another 10 min.
While veggies are cooking, crack eggs into a large bowl, season with salt and add mirin. Whisk together.
When onions are done cooking, layer greens and shiitakes over them, and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. Give eggs one more whisk, then pour over your veggies.
Lower heat and cover, cooking about 7-10 minutes until eggs are mostly set. Gently shake the pan to release the frittata. Carefully cover your skillet with a plate and flip fritatta on to it. Then, slide back into the skillet, uncooked side down, to finish cooking. Cook, uncovered, for another 4-6 min, until both sides are golden.
Slide onto a plate, garnish with flowers, and serve!