This time of year, the weather is bit unpredictable. Today it is sunny and 85 degrees, tomorrow 60 and rainy. Regardless of what the day brings, the market is featuring a beautiful collection of Asian spring greens, as well as our first sighting of spring garlic and a small supply of baby beets.
Asian Greens with a Warm Spring Garlic and Beet Vinaigrette blends the cool with the warm, which seems to make sense with the indecision of the season. Beet greens are the star in this salad instead of the small root attached, although it will serve an important role. I prefer beet greens with a little heat while baby napa cabbage and baby bok choy are too tender and best raw.
Rinse these tender farm-fresh greens in a bowl covered with cold water then swirl around with your hands a few times. Let rest just a minute to allow any grit to sink to the bottom of the bowl, just a minute or so. Then, carefully lift the floating greens out of the water and either wrap in a clean towel or give a few whirls in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
Spring garlic resembles spring onions with a distinct difference as the taste and smell is distinctly garlic. Unlike the pungent traditional dried garlic found in the grocery, market-fresh Spring garlic has a delicate flavor that won’t overwhelm any dish.
The beet is cubed and sautéed with their greens and some spring garlic in toasted sesame oil. Just as the greens begin to release, a drizzle of soy sauce, rice wine and honey finish this simple vinaigrette. It is poured still warm over the cold greens. Together the warm with the cool suit our days and our appetites, regardless of the weather. It’s not confusion, it’s Spring.
- 1 baby beet with greens attached, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 4-5 Spring garlic bulbs (the same size as scallions, usually only found at the farmers market)
- 1 small head of baby napa cabbage
- 2 handfuls baby bok choy
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1½ teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 2-3 Tablespoons sesame seeds or slivered almonds (optional)
- Remove beet greens from the beet and cut off the end of the napa cabbage.
- Rinse all greens and dry wrapped in a towel or using a salad spinner. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- Remove roots from spring garlic and the top 2 inches of the greens, chop small, reserve 1 Tablespoon of greens and whites and set aside.
- Put the sesame oil, beets and remaining spring garlic in a medium frypan over medium heat and saute 5 minutes until beets slightly soften.
- Add the beet greens and saute until just beginning to wilt.
- Meanwhile, place the bok choy and napa cabbage into a salad bowl.
- Add soy sauce, vinegar, honey to the pan and stir until the honey is dissolved.
- Pour warm vinaigrette over the greens, toss to combine. After plating, top with reserved Tablespoon of garlic and sesame seeds or almonds, if desired.