Ingredient of the Week: Mizuna

mizuna Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard or California peppergrass, is one of the mildest mustard greens. Its flavour can be described as piquant, peppery and slightly spicy, but less so than arugula. It looks a lot like wild arugula with white stalks and deeply cut, fringed leaves.

Beautiful, tasty and nutritious, it is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, folate, and iron. It also contains powerful glucosinolates—antioxidants linked to decreased cancer risk. Both its leaves and stalks are edible.

Mizuna is native to China, though it is considered a Japanese green as it has been cultivated there for several centuries. In Japan, Mizuna is often pickled. The leafy parts are salted and chopped, then stirred into rice. Stalk pieces are steeped in salt, sugar and rice vinegar for roughly 48 hours and then served as an appetizer or small bite with cold beer.

Mizuna's most appropriate use is as an ingredient within salads, yet it can also be cooked (just keep in mind that when cooked it shrinks to about half its size.) The stalks and leaves should be separated and cooked independently due to invariably different cook times. Mizuna is a common stir fry and soup ingredient and it can be adapted to most recipes calling for mustard greens or even cabbage. There are plenty of ways to enjoy mizuna: as a pizza topping, tossed into pasta, blended into pesto or added to a sandwich or burger.

We think this ROASTED BEET AND MIZUNA SALAD from Country Living sounds delicious:

roasted-beet-mizuna-salad-recipe-clx0311-xl

The only part of this recipe that takes time is roasting the beets, but you can put them in the oven, leave them, and come back when ready to assemble the salad, which is quick.

INGREDIENTS:

- 1 pound beets, scrubbed and trimmed     - Salt and pepper

- ¼  cup balsamic vinegar                           - 1 ½  tsp. honey

- 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard                              -  ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

- 12 oz mizuna                                             - 12 basil leaves, torn

- Zest of ½ lime                                           -  6 oz Feta, crumbled

cotija

*TIP: If you are having a hard time finding feta cheese, try using “cotija”, a salty, crumbly, dry cow’s milk cheese originally from Michoacán. It is made in many Baja ranches and is readily available in local markets. Like a cross between feta and parmesan, cotija is a great, local alternative, at the fraction of the cost. We recommend the block form and not pre-grated bags.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roast beets with a pinch of salt and a bit of water folded into aluminum foil packets. They will take about an hour to become tender, when cool, scrape off skins and cut into wedges.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and mustard. Drizzle in oil, whisking. In a large bowl, toss beets, mizuna, basil, and lime zest with the vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta. Serve and enjoy :)