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Today: A fiery green hot sauce to jump-start your sleepy winter meals.
With this one recipe, you can tick off all your New Year's resolutions at once. (Unless your resolution was to eat more donuts -- then I can't help you.).
But if you wanted to cook more in season (and not turn orange from all that squash), to DIY more, to eat more leafy greens, to give veganism a go, to add fire and force to your everyday cooking? This is all you need.
You just have to treat mustard greens like they've never been treated before.
You might be prone to grabbing for their soft frills for salad, whenever you get annoyed by kale's toothy edges. Or wilting them into angry little piles. You appreciate their spunk, but eating a whole bowl can leave you with a cloud of wasabi crawling up the back of your throat.
No wonder a reader poll over at The Kitchn revealed them as one of the vegetables we fear cooking most.
But maybe we've misunderstood them this whole time. We were thinking greens, when we should have been thinking mustard.
Instead of setting them loose in a salad bowl and willing everything else to keep up, try capturing and channeling their heat, and bottling it -- as mustard green harissa.
"I approached the creation of recipes for Afro-Vegan as a collagist -- cutting, pasting, and remixing the ingredients, flavor profiles, and classic dishes of the African continent, Caribbean, and American South," Terry wrote to me.
"Harissa is one of my favorite condiments, and I thought it would be interesting to create a hot pepper paste inspired by it using the Southern staple mustard greens as a foundation." Even though it never existed before now, everything about this makes sense.
Here's how to make it:
This will seem like a lot of ingredients to gather, and a lot of different small tasks to accomplish. It will all pay off in the final pot of harissa, smoky and stinging and bright.
So measure and chop 15 ingredients. In a world of 5-ingredient Genius Recipes, this is unheard of. (But, listen, a 15-ingredient hot sauce has a lot more possibility.)
Next, blanch your mustards just till they go soft.
Make garlic oil.
Toast some coriander and cumin in the same garlicky pan, then grind them up.
Chop more things.
Then blend it all together -- I found a mini-chop worked best.
Adapted slightly from Afro-Vegan (Ten Speed Press, 2014)
Yields about 1 cup
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup packed chopped mustard greens
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chiles (seeds and ribs removed only if you want it less spicy)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons water
Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
Photos by James Ransom
The Genius Recipes cookbook is here! (Well, almost.) The book is a mix of greatest hits from the column and unpublished new favorites -- all told, over 100 recipes that will change the way you think about cooking. It'll be on shelves in April, but you can pre-order your copy now.