The best schools where a person can attend to discover the gastronomic culture of a country, are certainly the Farmer Market. No matter whether you know the language or not, what you find on the exposed counters speaks for itself.
From vegetables, fruit to jars of honey or local jams, don’t be shy and throw yourself in the purchase of what seems you to have a good appearance and can satisfy your palate. Sometimes trying to get out of what is our ” usual food comfort zone” is not bad, and the results can be pleasantly unexpected.
Following this little “mantra” that I decided to start following here in Japan, thanks to the help of Yo, I’m gradually discovering new products and flavors that are increasingly expanding my little gastronomic baggage.
An example? Only a few days ago I tasted Komatsuna for the first time – 小松 菜 コ マ ツ ナ.
Have you ever heard about it? It can also be found in Europe where it is called Spinach of Mustard, but its origin is closely linked to the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese territory.
If you have never tried it, you will be surprised. Despite the appearance very similar to spinach, but it has nothing to do with it.
First of all, it belongs to the Brassica family (with cabbage, turnips, cauliflower …) and his flavor is really peculiar: slightly spicy with an aftertaste similar to that of mustard, slightly bitter.
The time of year when you will find it in abundance on the market counters is between May and August, but as a very strong plant, it is also sown in winter! (You can easily find it all year round).
Rich in good nutrients, calcium (5 times greater than spinach) and vitamin C, it can be eaten raw in a tasty salad or cooked with different flavors.
In short, an explosion of flavors capable of providing us the best nutrients!
In Japanese cuisine, you will find it mainly cooked, as an ingredient of ohitashi (boiled vegetables in Dashi and soy sauce), simply sautéed with sesame oil, and in delicate soups like the one served at New Year’s dinner!
Here is a simple and delicious recipe capable of enhancing the flavor!
Eliminate the hard end part of the Komatsuna and wash it under running water. Proceed to cut it into 3 parts horizontally (or more depending on the length).
Wash and Cut Komatsuna
Take your aburage and boil it in water for 2 minutes so that it loses excess oil. Throw away the used water. Dry your Aburage and cut it first in half on the long side and then in several strips.
In a saucepan, add the Vegetable Broth, Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Salt. Mix them with the help of a spoon and insert your Aburage. When your broth starts to boil, throw your Komatsuna.
Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the stems have softened.
Serve in a bowl all garnished with some of its broth and voila, here for you and your family, an ideal dish to enrich your dinner!
Buon Appetito! いただきます！