Help me ID this leafy green that ISN'T collard greens
June 2, 2020 3:42 PM   Subscribe

At the farmer's market this weekend, I picked up this bundle of greens thinking it was collards. As I was paying, the farmer told me I was not, in fact, holding collard greens, but an obscure green she just started growing called ... something. It was hard to hear her, and I didn't quite catch it! She did say that she thought it was best sauteed in a little oil or butter and garlic. Her farm is in upstate New York. Can you help? What am I about to cook with?
posted by minervous to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
posted by zamboni at 3:54 PM on June 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tatsoi or Yu Choy / Choy Sum?
posted by ananci at 3:57 PM on June 2, 2020

Looks like tronchuda, aka Portuguese kale. Great in any application you would use collards for, or you could make caldo verde
posted by Wavelet at 3:59 PM on June 2, 2020

Lots of different varieties of leafy greens are colloquially called collards, and depending on what part of the country you're in, sometimes they're colloquially called kale (and sometimes, larger farms that ship their produce out of state will have multiple boxes for the same product, labeled kale and collards). Sometimes, you'll see the aforementioned Senposai labeled as "Asian Collards" at whole-foods end produce markets. Basically, lots of leafy-brassicas-ish stuff can be called collards.

I would treat what you have in the picture, regardless of their specific name, as culinarily as collards.

And "just saute in a little olive oil and garlic" while good, is a very standard produce-slinger-speak for "I don't know what the fuck to do with this vegetable" or "I don't know your level of cooking skill, so this is an easy way to make this edible!" Serious eats is pretty close to what I go to, but sometimes I add a little more liquid smoke to the pot, depending on how smokey the bacon is.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:04 PM on June 2, 2020 [9 favorites]

Choy Sum. Tastes great sautéed in olive oil, garlic and oyster sauce.
posted by Jubey at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2020

Basically, lots of leafy-brassicas-ish stuff can be called collards.

seconding furnace.heart. It's almost certainly a brassica, but it's a toss up to my eyes if it's rapa or oleracea Could be a cross of both? or a mustard green which is sometimes a third species of Brassica. I would test the chew of it before you use a wet cooking method- collard greens are much tougher then other cabbage greens and so can take a boiling- other relatives in the brassica family might not like that treatment- hence the "saute w/garlic" method of cooking which is my fav for anything from spinach to swiss chard- neither being a brassica. Collards are oleracea but so is kale so technically quite a bunch in this family are "collards" sort of. Give it a taste!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:59 PM on June 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

well, i would imagine those are collards.

a long time ago, back when we had restaurants, local farmers would bring produce we had ordered. occasionally they might have some new thing to introduce to us. a new variety of this or that a farmer friend had shared with them, or had popped up in their fields. not a new species necessarily; maybe just a new cultivar. or harvested during a different part of the plants lifecycle than we were familiar with.

if it wasn’t the farmer delivering the thing directly (or even if it was), further investigations would often be met with a shrug. “we just call it…”

like furnace.heart (great name!) said, “basically, lots of leafy-brassicas-ish stuff can be called collards.”

i think those are collards.
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2020 [9 favorites]

It doesn't look like choy sum to me (too big, veins too white) or mustard greens (too stiff and flat, veins too white). Of the non-collard suggestions so far it looks the most like tronchuda.

The texture looks collard or kale-like and would probably do well with recipes that fit either.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:07 PM on June 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

That looks quite a lot like what supermarkets call ‘spring greens’ here in the UK.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:45 AM on June 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seconding tronchuda. My Portuguese relatives call it couves (pronounced like curves minus the r). Here's a Washington Post article about this green.
posted by poodelina at 3:51 AM on June 3, 2020

That looks exactly what we call collards in my area, I think if it is tronchuda or some other kind of brassica you could cook it using recipes for any of those greens - they all cook up very similarly but taste a bit different. Very exciting! Let us know how they come out.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:48 AM on June 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Whatever it actually is, I've cooked it before (purchased as collards most certainly) it cooks like younger slightly less leathery collards, so long slow wet stew or very quick hot fine shred should work.
And delicious, now I need to go greens shopping.
posted by winesong at 8:42 AM on June 3, 2020

I'm leaning tronchuda, too. It is definitively not yu choy, which is a wonderful green that you should grab if you can find it.
posted by maudlin at 10:30 AM on June 3, 2020

Got back to the market and can report the farmer says "senposai."

Thanks for all the fantastic botany/gardening/cooking knowledge you all dropped in this thread.
posted by minervous at 7:23 AM on June 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

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