Monday, May 30, 2011

mustard greens

I love greens.  When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter I bought and ate ridiculous amounts of greens.  I remember particularly liking turnip greens, and that's funny because I'm pretty sure I haven't eaten turnip greens since.  Sardines were my other obsession and I still love a pan of greens sauteed in the oil from a tin of sardines; a delicacy I invented while pregnant (it's probably not to everyone's taste).  My zeal for greens when I was pregnant came from my desire to eat healthfully and really, I doubt there many foods more wholesome than a big plate of greens.  Mustard greens are a recent discovery for me and lately we eat them a couple of times a week.  They are cruciferous (like broccoli, cabbage or kale) and excellent cooked or raw.  The flavor is stronger when it's cooked a short time and it mellows with longer cooking (lightly sauteed=strong, braised=mild).  Mustard is high in vitamins A, K, and C and it is also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  It's pretty common in Chinese, Indian and Caribbean cuisine.  It can be used like you would use any other bitter green.

We like it best in salad.  Our favorite salad is half mustard greens, half romaine, with some chopped mint, dressed with lemon and olive oil, and served with generous handfuls of kalamatas and feta cheese.  I had been trying to get my daughter to eat salad for a while by making sweet or creamy dressings (that I imagined to be kid friendly) and she never liked it.  But this salad she loves, and that makes me very happy.  My younger daughter does not eat any green food, so I don't even offer her salad (I keep hoping she will grow out of her infernal fussiness, but there are no signs of that happening any time soon).

Mustard greens are nice cooked too.   They are good simply sauteed and dressed with lemon and they are also great braised.  Braised is probably more traditional and the flavour is definitely mellower.

 Braised Mustard with Bacon
4-5 slices of bacon
1/2 onion chopped
2 bunches of mustard greens, stemmed, washed and chopped
1 cup chicken stock

Fry the bacon and remove from pan with slotted spoon.  Chop the bacon and set aside.  Saute the onion in the remaining bacon fat (remove some if it looks like too much).  When the onion is soft, add the mustard greens.  Let the mustard greens sizzle with the onions for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken stock.  After you add the stock turn the flame down low and let the greens cook gently for twenty minutes.  The greens should be tender and the liquid reduced.  Add the chopped bacon back to the greens and serve.

If you have leftovers, this also makes a nice filing for omelettes.


  1. oh! both those recipes sound delicious!!

  2. sorry it's taken me so long to find your blog (we took the byw class together) and I think that you were the only person to comment on my mood board photo :D but now that I'm here I'm glad that I am - it's great!!

    cheers, t

  3. Thanks Tracey, glad you dropped by!