Escape from Planet Kale. Like Kryptonite a bit of kale now and then is good for you. But North America has turned into a land of Kale Zombies. There are other dark, delicious greens as well . Today I’m using collards and dandelions, two of my favorites. Also I’ve been on a duck binge lately so that’s in the mix too. The duck needs to be ground for the filling. Your butcher can do that for you if you don’t have a grinder. Be sure to save the skin and the fat which clings to it. Rendered duck fat is pure heaven and you get the added bonus of duck skin cracklings.
Folding won tons takes a little practice. Some look like purses, others look like little hats similar to tortellini or cappellacci (at least mine do). You can find any number of instructional videos out there on the internet. The technique is pretty easy to master.
boneless duck breast about 16 ounces (the thickness of the skin and fat layer will determine how much flesh the breast will yield)
Won ton wrappers
bunch collard greens, to yield 2 cups
bunch dandelion greens, to yield 1 cup
zest from one small orange or tangerine
Chinese five spice powder
egg white from a single egg
soy sauce or Maggi seasoning
extra firm tofu diced
scallions, sliced on the bias
chopped cilantro (optional)
1 1/2 quarts
chicken stock (or duck stock if you have it)
Stem your collard greens and cut each leaf in half down the middle. Stack the leaves and role into cylinders. Slice crosswise into ribbons.
Slice off the bottom stems of dandelion greens. The upper stems are tender when cooked. Slice these greens into ribbons as well.
Season the ground duck with orange zest, salt and pepper, soy sauce and five spice powder.
Using your clean hands work in the egg white to help bind the mixture.
Have a bowl of water handy. Place no more than one teaspoon of the duck mixture in the center of a wonton skin. A melon baller works well for this. Don’t over stuff or you risk won ton blow out. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it along the sides and far edge of the won ton skin. Fold and seal to your preferred method.* This should yield 20 or more won tons.
Bring the chicken stock to a steady simmer. Add the greens to the pot and continue to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until very tender.
Add the won tons. Simmer away until they begin to float. Taste one for doneness.
Add the tofu dice and the cilantro if using. Finish with scallion and serve
*A simple method for folding goes like this: place the filling in the center of the skin, wet the edges. Lift the edge of the skin closest to you and fold it all the way to the far end. Press edges to seal. Fold in half one more time. Bend the roll slightly to bring the far corners together. Wet the top of one corner and the bottom of the opposing corner. Press corners together. Roll on.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.