Last Sunday, I walked home from the San Clemente farmers’ market feeling a bit like a hog. I had spotted six little bundles of tat soi — what I thought was bok choi — sitting atop the arugula at the Peterson Specialty Produce stand, and I purchased them all.
But what’s a girl to do? I love baby bok choi and have yet to see it at the farmers’ markets here. Sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes, this Asian green makes a wonderful side dish. My love for this tasty (and adorable) vegetable began at Twenty Manning, in Philadelphia, with their steamed baby bok choi side dish.
Anyway, tat soi, I’ve discovered, looks and tastes very similar to bok choi. I can’t tell you how the two differ, only that a difference certainly exists: “Tat soi, not bok choi,” Andrea Peterson, the woman who grows these delectable mini cabbages, told me over the phone last Sunday afternoon, after I told her I had bought some bok choi earlier that morning.
I had called Andrea to learn more about her farm, Blue Heron Farm, and the variety of greens I have been purchasing from her each week: rapini, arugula, baby lettuces, and now, tat soi. So intrigued by what I learned — she also grows bananas and mangos on her Fallbrook farm — I wrote up a little story. It appeared today in San Clemente’s Sun Post News. Ahhh, slowly but surely I’m finding employment. (I'm not sure the article has been uploaded to the Web site, however, so the article can be read here: Rapini To Relish.)
Sautéed Tat Soi
Serves 2 as a side dish
5 bundles tat soi (there are three tat soi per bundle)
1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 cloved garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
kosher salt to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Unwrap the bundles of tat soi and place in a large bowl filled with cold water. This will allow any dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl.
3. Meanwhile, place the olive oil and garlic in a large nonstick sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium. When the garlic begins to sizzle, turn the heat to low and let cook, watching closely to be sure the garlic does not brown. After 2 or 3 minutes add crushed red pepper flakes to taste and turn off the heat.
4. When the water boils, add the tat soi. Let cook for 10 to 30 seconds max. Drain and rinse under cold water.
5. Turn the heat under the frying pan to medium high. When the garlic and pepper flakes begin to sizzle, add the tat soi. Season with kosher salt to taste. Shake the pan or turn the tat soi with tongs to coat it in the olive oil-garlic mixture. Serve immediately.
Pictured below is the rapini-linguini I made following Andrea Peterson's instructions. She learned this simple recipe from two Italian customers who brought her rapini seeds (from Italy) for her to grow. For the recipe and to read more about Blue Heron Farm, click here. The recipe ... shocker ... features none other than Delaney's Culinary Fresh red pepper linguini.