I feel that too often when I go to the grocery store I rely heavily on my sense of sight. I stare at the produce, sometimes smell it, and determine from those two factors on whether or not to buy produce. (I think this is also part of the allure of Whole Foods in my head- they seems to always have some produce samples.)
Yet, when I head out to the csa, I have the opportunity to add the sense of taste into my determining factor. I can pluck ripen strawberry and pop the fresh fruit into my mouth. During the summer months I can eat cherry tomatoes off the vine while picking other produce, and during the spring, I rely on my sense of taste to determine which greens I will use and which ones I won’t. The sense of taste is so important to food and yet I usually wait until the last stage of preparing to even begin using my sense of taste.
When I was out to the farm last week, I strolled around picking leaves of a variety of greenery. I chomped on arugula which turned out to be way to spicy, I tried some chard which of course I knew I loved but felt like a nibble anyway, and finally made my way to the different Asian Greens.
Last year I tended to avoid the Asian Greens. I had no idea on flavor, no idea on how to prepare them, and frankly, I was more interested in chard and spinach. So this year, I challenged myself to find a couple of varieties I liked and cook with them beyond throwing them into a stir-fry. I tasted a few and settled on a couple varieties. In the case of these spring rolls, I chose the Mizuna which had a slight kick but still mild enough to eat raw.
These spring rolls were refreshing, filling, and the perfect fit for the Mizuna. Two things to do differently next time (which you can benefit from now): chop the greens and mix everything together before wrapping it in the spring roll- I had quinoa everywhere. These would also be delicious with rice noodles, brown rice, or another grain you might like to try.
So my recommendation to you: if you head to the farmer’s market, ask for taste if your unsure. Spring is a great time for greens and every green has a slightly different flavor.
Sesame-Ginger and Quinoa Spring Rolls
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 4 handfuls of Asian Greens
- 6-8 rice paper wrappers
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Soak quinoa in water for 15 minutes. Drain, add back to the pot, and add in water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes.
- While quinoa cooks, cut up the greens and whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Once quinoa is done cooking combine the quinoa, greens, and dressing in a bowl.
- To assemble the spring rolls, fill a square pan with water and soak a rice wrapper for 30 seconds or until it begins to soften. Remove and place a scant 1 cup of the filling on the wrapper, fold the edges over, and roll into the spring roll. Continue until all the filling has been used (I got six spring rolls.)
by Erin Alderson