Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Is Tsoi Tsim?

...I don't know, and Google hardly knows either! Well, after buying and cooking it yesterday, I now know a little bit about it.

I found it at the Copley Farmers' Market yesterday evening, tucked between more familiar greens at the Atlas Farm booth. It was marked $2.50/bunch, and next to the price was a Sharpied note to "be adventurous." How could I resist? It looked like kale, but not quite as wrinkly, and it had little yellow flowers peaking out between the leaves. I asked the woman working the booth what I should do with it, and she suggested sauteeing. She assured me the flowers were edible as well.

So pretty!
So flowery!
I prepared the tsoi tsim by ripping apart the leaves and stems, tearing each into more manageably-sized pieces, and separating out the blossoms. I quickly sauteed the leaves and stems in olive oil with just a bit of garlic powder and black pepper, and then I sprinkled the raw flowers on top to serve.

The stems, which have the consistency of a dandelion stem, tasted like very mild scallions, and the leaves were similar to kale, but not as obnoxiously salty. The flowers didn't taste like much of anything, but they looked pretty!

The tsoi tsim really stood up well to sauteeing. It remained bright green and purple (some of the stems); it really looked beautiful in the pan! I wish I had had my real camera handy to show you how nice this vegetable can look, but alas, this time we're stuck with grainy cell phone photos. (I know there have been a lot of those lately; I'll try to use the real camera more often.) It did cook down quite a bit, like kale and other green leafy things, so use more than you think you'll need.

To go along with the tsoi tsim - or the other way around, I guess - Joel prepared some ridiculously good shrimp which he marinated in a whole lot of butter, orange liqueur, and honey whiskey (the Manishevitz of whiskies). The shrimp caramelized a bit, and they were big and juicy and oh-so-good. We also made a box of rice pilaf with lentils, which I thought I wouldn't like. I was right. Man, lentils are nasty. I can't stand that chalky texture that lentils, chickpeas, and some other legumes have.
Amazing shrimp with tsoi tsim and unfortunately nasty lentil rice
I would definitely prepare tsoi tsim again. We used only half the bunch between the two of us for one dinner, so it comes out to only about 62 cents a serving, and it tastes like kale, but better!

Tsoi Tsim on Foodista
Tsoi Tsim on FoodistaTsoi Tsim

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