The weather's warming, and Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon us, but the surest sign of summer's approach are my first bug bites of the season. On Sunday, a thirsty gnat from the deep woods got stuck inside my hood and left red welts on my neck that look like hickeys, but aren't nearly as much fun.
As we get closer to summer, my CSA bag grows fuller every week. Friday's delivery included mesclun mix, beet greens, chard, spinach, and spring onions, as well as this gorgeous vegetable:
Meet tatsoi. Tatsoi-san's dark green, spoon-shaped leaves are as tender as baby spinach and taste a little like raw pumpkin. I didn't find detailed nutritional information online, but it's safe to assume a dark green leafy vegetable is good for you.
I'd never seen tatsoi before, so rather than sauté or wilt it, I tossed it raw into a salad to get the full effect. Less assertive that spinach, the leaves provided a mild, earthy grounding for crunchy spring onions, almonds, and celery, and for sweet carrots and Veganomicon sesame dressing.
Baked and broiled tofu made the salad a meal. In the fridge, I had some tofu triangles that had been marinated overnight in tamari and baked at 350F for 40 minutes. To breathe life back into the leftovers, I broiled them very close to the heat for 3-4 minutes, creating a scorched, salty exterior, perfect atop the mellow greens.
I love becoming acquainted with unfamiliar plants that arrive in my CSA bag. If I had seen tatsoi at the grocery store, tucked into the foreign-foods-we-don't-know-how-to-cook bin, I probably would have overlooked it. Instead, it inspired a fresh, delicious salad, and I'm hoping for more tatsoi in this week's delivery!