Seasonal Chef: Spicy Mustard Greens


We’re right in the middle of summer. The markets are bursting with all sorts of fruits and vegetables. It’s almost an overload to your senses. A stroll past any table, at just about every market, will yield piles of zucchini, tomatoes, beets and greens. More variety of greens than you can ever imagine: mizuna, bok choy, romaine, kale and yes, mustard greens.

Mustard greens, what exactly are they? They are a leafy cruciferous vegetable, high in Vitamins K, A and C, along with Folate and Manganese. You find this tangy ingredient in many African and Indian dishes. Their spicy flavor is perfect when added raw to a salad and mellows out when sautéed or braised.

I decided to make a quick pesto out of them this week. As I’ve noted before, pestos are a great way to stretch your summer greens a little longer once they leave us until next year. A few weeks back I did a pesto with Garlic Scapes and recently with Radish Greens. Not only are pestos easy to make, but you can freeze them in a ice cube tray and pop into a heavy freezer bag for later. They are a perfect addition to your dinner, either on pasta or over fish or vegetables.

Blanched Mustard Greens, Seasonal Chef Maria Reina

Another trick I encourage you to do is use the water you blanch your vegetables in to cook your pasta. The veggie water will impart extra flavor into your pasta. For this particular recipe I blanched the mustard greens for only 30 seconds and then rinsed with a little cool water to stop the cooking. Into the food processor it went with the other ingredients, while the pasta cooked.

Eating on the fly

This is a funny example of that sometimes happens in our house. At the end of a very busy day for both of us, and very hungry, we dispense with the plates and just eat right out of the bowl! Mildly spicy with a little a nice creamy finish, who could resist?

Mustard Green Pesto, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

I encourage you to find a bunch of Mustard Greens this weekend and give them a try. Click this link: for the Mustard Greens Pesto recipe.

Buon Appetito!






About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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