Saturday, March 23, 2013

Asian fusion steamed greens

Steamed broccoli and collard greens with a soy sauce ginger dressing.

The words "steamed greens" probably don't conjure up a sexy image. Models don't lounge on beaches asking trim wait-boys for "steamed greens". Even my dear vegetarian friend, R, hates vegetables... Yet I promise you that these greens are something that you could, nay, should get excited about. Some of the best dishes are improvised, and this one was so good that I wanted to write it down. The sesame added a little crunch, the avocado a little creaminess, and everything came together for this one moment in was the perfect thing to accompany my watching the TV show Nashville (We all have our guilty pleasures, rigth?). Watching TV shows alone on my computer while eating dinner... such are the luxeries of living by oneself.

Steaming greens
For kale and collard greens, I would recommend taking the bundle, already tied with a rubber band or twist-tie, and slice the bottom inch or two off (they tend to have the most dirt, and are the toughest part of the plant).
The stems/spines of collard greens.

Untie your trimmed bundle, and place the leaves in a large bowl filled with cold water (the cold temperature will keep the vegetables from wilting). Rinse the leaves, and gently swish them around in the water, and let them sit for a minute to let the dirt settle. Then take out the greens and rinse out the water. Do this one more time to make sure all the dirt is gone- you'll know by looking at how much dirt there is in the water in the bowl. I know this seems pedantic (I know you know how to wash vegetables!) but last week I almost missed finding a plump, small pupa, or a some type of mummified worm... it was wrapped up in a spider's web and affixed to the inside spine of a piece of kale... ::shudders:: just check and make sure your veggies are clean, that's all that I'm saying!

When cutting the veggies before steaming, I cut out the center stem of collard greens and kale. The stem is very tough, and takes much longer to cook than the leaves. You can be very industrious and save the spines in the freezer for making future vegetable and chicken broths. You could also dice them up into small pieces and put them in the strainer first. Or compost/toss them- that is between you and your kitchen!

Put your greens in a steamer with an inch or two of gently boiling water. Steam for about three minutes, and remove them when they turn bright green. At this point most people recommend putting the greens in ice water to stop the cooking process. If you take out the greens when they're bright green, they will keep cooking a little bit, but they won't overcook. Promise. No ice water necessary.
Steamed greens have a great flavor all their own, but they are great with this dressing.

Dressing for steamed greens and sliced avocado:
Microplane zested ginger (this is potent!!)
Soy sauce
A splash of a neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
Sesame seeds, to garnish

Combine to taste, and enjoy! I highly recommend grating ginger with a microplane, it packs an intense flavor. I like the taste of Bragg's soy sauce, but there is a huge variety out there. Serious Eats, an amazing resource on all things food, profiles the history and all the different types of soy sauces here, so you can find your favorite.

Photo credit: abbyladybug / / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: kallen1974 / / CC BY-NC

1 comment:

  1. Nice recipe! I hadn't heard about the ice water technique to stop the wilting. The stem idea is good. I've been making stews a lot lately. I cut out the stems and threw them in early. Then I put the rest of the leaves in later so they didn't get mushy. I often do raw kale salads. But, I'll try this technique at some point and try not to over steam them.