Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Greens

I'd never heard of minutina till I saw it at the
Two Guys from Woodbridge's stand at the Union Square greenmarket on a recent Saturday. With long, feathery leaves emerging from fat rootballs, it was irresistible. I bought a bunch and took it home.

Meanwhile, at another stand, I'd bought, also for the first time, a bunch of chickweed. After being told it was usually used in salads, I'd asked about whether it could be a substitute a kale or spinach in a stew. "Certainly," replied the boss of the stand.

Now, with a giant bunch of minutina in my bag, I figured I might as well use both greens when I made caldo verde that night.

But first I tasted both greens--found them mild and wild, with just a bit of tang, crunchy, and grassy.

Above: minutina, which weighed more than a pound, including the rootball. Below: chickweed, which weighed a bit less.

After the beans, chorizo, and onions had cooked a while, I added about a third of the chickweed (below), and stirred it in.

Next, I broke off about a third of the minutina leaves and tore them into thirds, then added them to the soup. (below).

Once I'd stirred in the minutina (above), it looked as if the soup might like more greens, so I added first more chickweed (below):

And then more minutina, which looked to me like Spanish moss, when I lifted a ladle to fill my bowl.

As it turns out, this wasn't my first taste of minutina. A couple of years ago, I'd bought a smaller bunch from a different vendor at the green market, who didn't know its name but said it tasted like spinach. I sauteed it in olive oil and garlic and folded it into an omelet (see my earlier post: Mystery Green).

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