My neighbor makes a weekly trek to a wonderful natural grocery store called Berkeley Bowl, and always offers to pick me up anything I might need. Unfortunately when he asks, my mind usually bounces through the massive produce department, to the gorgeous fish counter, to the Asian noodle aisle, and I end up thinking of so many things I want but unable to land on a manageable 1-2 items he might be able to bring home.
This time, I called him up and asked if he would go to the produce department and pick up $3 (the amount of cash I had on hand) of anything. I said to bring home whatever looked interesting, just be sure to write down the name so I could figure out how to cook it.
He agreed to the cooking surprise (thanks neighbor!), and came home with a bag of fresh little bunches of Choy Sum Mue
Neither of which I’d had before.
The Fava’s are interesting: kind of labor intensive but worth it for its’ unusual taste and texture. To prepare, you husk them -I found it went much quicker when I slit them all open with a knife first- and remove the beans from the styrofoam-ish shell (Its pretty neat to see how well protected they are in this spongy, custom fit package)Then discard the husks and blanch the beans, then squeeze the beans out of their shells, which are tough and woody.
The whole big bag of beans ended up yielding only about 1/4 cup. Pretty amazing. But I tossed them with some Peccorino cheese, artichoke hearts, capers, balsamic vinegar, and lettuce, and there were just enough. The beans have a nice buttery texture, not like some other beans that are more chalky or dry when you bite them. And they have lots of flavor – kind of a bitter tang that matched the cheese really well.
For the Choy sum mue, what better to do then saute in some garlic and soy sauce. So tender and delicious, they absolutely can’t be beat.
SO thank you again to my wonderful neighbor, can’t wait for next week!