Mustard Greens Pancakes with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

Mustard Greens Pancakes with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

I really do like greens. It’s not a matter of tolerating them when they appear or making use of them from time to time. I really want to eat greens every day, and I can find ways to include them in just about any meal. Just ask Kurt. So, the new book from Jenn Louis, The Book of Greens: A Cook's Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes of which I received a review copy, is a delight for me. Also, Jenn Louis’s last book was about making pasta and dumplings, and some of those elements, that I happen to love creating in the kitchen, find their way here into dishes incorporating greens. This all adds us up to quite a lot that makes me very happy in this new book. Now, the only issue with greens is that the sturdy, earthy, serious greens like kale, chard, and collards thrive in cooler weather and aren’t part of our local, summer produce. But happily, this book covers the full spectrum of greens, including a few I’d never thought to bring into the kitchen before, and there are hot weather options too. The book is organized alphabetically by the name of each green, and there’s general information about each variety followed by recipes for it. Since locally-grown arugula is available almost year-round, I was happy to try the Arugula Salad with Red Grapes, Feta, and Dukkah. It comes with a suggestion for trying it with plums in place of the grapes which I did, and it was fantastic. The Dandelion Salad Sandwich is a smart combination of a sweet butternut squash puree with dressed slivers of dandelion greens and slices of hard-boiled eggs. The Miso Soup with Turmeric, Wheat Noodles, and Gai Lan would also be great with bok choy or chard in place of the gai lan, and why have I never thought of taking miso soup in a direction like this? There’s a section just for herbs, one for lettuces, and one for root, fruit, and vegetable greens. It’s a great reminder that squash leaves, sweet potato greens, and tomato leaves are edible and available in the summer. I tried the Tomato Leaf-Egg Pasta with Butter and Fresh Tomato Sauce and highly recommend it. And, while I have enjoyed nopales from cactus plants, I’ve never harvested aloe vera stalks for juicing. There’s a cocktail made with aloe juice and tequila in the book, and I can’t wait to try it. The point of the book is, of course, to highlight greens, but the recipes grab attention first for the mix of flavors and textures. They just happen to be made with all sorts of different leaves.

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