Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Beet Greens with Soy-Ginger Sauce

Sweet & Spicy Beet Greens with Soy-Ginger Sauce
This recipe for sauteed beet greens combines a traditional Southern ingredient (the greens) with Asian-inspired seasonings for a fusion of interesting, palate-pleasing flavors.

Beet greens, aka beet tops, are best if young and very fresh, when they're less likely to be bitter or tough. You can still enjoy older beet tops with larger leaves, but you might want to blanch them first to make them more tender in texture and mellow in flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute any other dark leafy greens for this recipe, including kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, or a mixture of different greens. I used a fairly large red spring onion but any kind of spring onion, green onion or scallions will work. And you can substitute a different type of oil if you prefer, but I like the subtle blend of flavors in Spectrum brand organic Asian stir fry oil (a blend of soybean, peanut & sesame).

Ideally cooked in a wok, you can also use a very deep, large skillet or saucepan to make this recipe. Two pounds of greens might seem like a lot when raw, but they cook down in volume quite dramatically, resulting in 4 to 6 side servings. You can halve this recipe, or turn it into an entree by adding cooked tofu or tempeh cubes, or cooked shrimp, scallops, chicken breast strips or even sliced beef or pork and serving over rice or noodles. Any unused leftover sauce can be refrigerated and used within a few days as a dipping sauce, table sauce or condiment for other recipes.

2 lbs beet greens (beet tops)
1 1/2 Tbs (approx) Asian stir-fry oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onion, green onions or scallions, including some of the tops

Sauce ingredients:
Beet greens & spring onion
1/4 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium is best)
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp grated, pureed or minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp (or less to taste) red pepper flakes

Thoroughly rinse the beet greens and shake off as much water as possible. Trim off the stems and/or strip the leaves off any thick, tough stems. Grab the beet greens by the handful, grasp firmly on a large cutting board and cut the greens crosswise into strips about 1/2" wide.

Heat the oil in your wok or skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion until softened and translucent. While the onion cooks, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, making sure they're thoroughly combined.

When the onion is done, toss in the chopped beet greens and stir-fry until they begin to soften and cook down significantly. Reduce heat slightly, pour in some of the sauce (enough to coat the greens without "drowning" them - you may or may not use all of the sauce) and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring  regularly, until the greens are done to your taste: less time for crunchy "al dente" greens with more of a "bite," and longer for more tender, mellower-tasting greens. If adding a cooked protein such as tofu, chicken, seafood or beef, add just before serving and toss well to combine, adding any reserved sauce as desired. Serve hot, either alone or over rice or noodles.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company, Inc.

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