Monday, July 6, 2009

Ingredient: Chrysanthemum Greens

n. [kri-san-thuh-muhm] edible leaves + stems of the garland chrysanthemum plant; popular in Asian cooking; also known as edible chrysanthemum or chop suey greens.

Who knew? A friend gave me a bag of chrysanthemum greens that had been passed to her by a neighboring gardener. Chrysanthemum greens? Hmmm. I didn't know they were edible. Turns out they are pretty tasty and easy to use.
The leaves are small and tender, and must be used before the plant has flowered. Once it has bloomed, the leaves become bitter. Chrysanthemum greens have a nice herbaceous zing when eaten raw, and turn slightly nutty once cooked.
I popped a handful on top of a pita with pesto + goat cheese for a tasty grilled supper.

NOTE: do not use ornamental chrysanthemum greens from the plant your mother gave you. These are not edible. the 'garland' variety is what you need. this has been a public service annoucement. :-)

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