Tender Greens Sauteed in Chinese-5 Flavored Oil

By Nick Schneider

Makes about 4 cups and serves about 4

This method works well for the “quick wilters”: young kale, spinach, baby beet, chard, baby turnip greens, Asian Mustard greens (komatsuna, tat soi) broccoli raab and young dandelion greens.  This is truly a combined sauté and steam method and takes almost no time to prepare.  We think of spring as the time for tender cooking greens, and June is really the peak, but fall is also a time for young greens.  Good farming skills and attention to detail offers these perfect greens for a longer period of the season.

The overall approach to cooking these kinds of greens is rapidly which offers the best flavor, texture and color.

  • 2 lbs of tender greens, tough stems removed.
  • Tamari or soy sauce to taste
  • Lemon wedge – optional

Wash the greens and coarsely chop if needed. They need not be absolutely dry but it does not hurt.

Put oil, splash of tamari and greens into a large shallow heavy braising pan (~14 in) with lid and apply heat. Turn several times until wilted. 

Uncover for last moments to get excess water to evaporate.  Think of the water as excess flavor and minerals – re-concentrate them into the greens!

Chinese 5 flavored Oil

  • 2 green onions – white and green parts
  • 8 small slices of ginger – peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. Szechuan Peppercorns
  • ½ cup Asian sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flake

Crush the scallions slightly with the broad side of a knife, slice into rough pieces. Crush the ginger slices slightly as well. Mortar and pestle will work. Combine both of these and the Szechuan peppercorns and set aside.

Heat the oils over medium heat.  Drop in the red pepper flakes when they begin to sizzle and tiny bubbles emerge around them (test with a few flakes first). Reduce heat to low and remove after 5 seconds.

Stir in the scallions and ginger and peppercorns.  Cover pan loosely and let steep one hour at room temp or even overnight.

Strain oil and store in refrigerator for up to three months.