Flirting with Tatsoi: 5 recipes for one hot little green

tatsoiWe’re just getting to know one another, tatsoi and I, and this green is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Crisp with a slight heat, and just a touch of bitterness — it is one interesting character.
Tatsoi is considered a cold weather green, a member of the brassica family (cousin to broccoli and cabbage), and many recipes that include tatsoi are called winter salads. That’s because it likes the cold, and will sustain temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit (gardeners, take note!). So Montana is a great place to grow it, and a good reason it is showing up in the earliest batches of your CSAs and farmers’ market runs.

chalkboard

Listen to the chalkboard: “embrace spring greens!” It is that time of year. And there’s a whole world of greens out there to rub shoulders (or should I say tastebuds?) with.  The basics with these greens: don’t cook ‘em too much, just add a little ginger, sesame oil, tahini and rice vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a great side. Add chicken, tofu, or scramble in an egg or two and you’ve got yourself a mean stir fry.

If you want to go a bit further, Googling this critter is a bit tricky, because it is not as well known as many other greens—in fact my autocorrect really wants to change the word tatsoi to tats. Hmmm. If you have favorite recipes that include arugula and/or mustard greens, try tatsoi as an alternative. Both of these greens have a little spice to them, and cook for similar times.

A lot of the spring/winter greens are interchangeable or can be mixed with one another (pak choy, mizuna, bok choy, and tatsoi are great combos). These early and quite tender spring greens are great raw in salads, and hearty enough for stir fry. Tatsoi and its cousin bok choy are often recommended for stir fries.

If you want to get more creative, here are my top five recipes to mix up your tatsoi repertoire. All of them are something that you could make on a weeknight — several of them with many staples in your pantry.

ONE: TATSOI & MUSTARD GREEN SALAD WITH GINGER HONEY VINAIGRETTE

An easy, raw salad from Sunday Suppers. And if you want a little more complicated salad, here’s one that made my mouth water. . .I’ve just never been one to follow recipes when it comes to salad.

TWO: GRILLED HALIBUT WITH SPICEY THAI CHILES

A main dish with simple ingredients. Many who reviewed this recipe coated the halibut with panko bread crumbs and pan fried it.

THREE: WHOLE WHEAT SHELLS WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Wilt your greens in with pasta! Love and Lemons is a gorgeous food blog with lots of solid recipes. This one has lots of alternatives and would be pretty kid friendly and simple.

FOUR: QUICK BRAISED CHICKEN WITH BEANS & GREENS 

This is a great one pot dinner loaded with nutrients.

FIVE: TOFU & WILTED GREENS

This is pretty much the recipe that the PEAS Farm chalkboard recommends, if you want more instructions and proportions from I Can Cook That.

May you embrace your spring greens and have a very happy Father’s Day. Maybe even try cooking some of your tatsoi for a Father’s Day feast? Let us know what recipes you love!