I was wondering around the farmers’ market in South Kensington this week when, at The Wild Country Organics stall I found something which looked very like pak choi (or bok choy as they say in North America) bagged up as tatsoi. Wild Country Organics supply by mail order if you can’t find any locally.
Of course I had to ask all about it.
“What can you do with tatsoi?”
“Yes, it is similar to pak choi” said the helpful stall holder, “only it’s butterier, and sweeter. You can chop it straight into salads without cooking it and it gives bit of crunch. Of course you can throw it into stir fries too. You can steam it but you really don’t need to”.
As well as the suggestions he made I have also discovered you can add chopped tatsoi to stews, soups, risottos, frittatas and omelettes, and you can even use it to make a pesto.
Other names for tatsoi
Tatsoi is also known as spinach mustard, or spoon mustard (because of the shape of its leaves).
How to store tatsoi
Store it, loosely wrapped in damp paper towel, in in a plastic bag in the fridge and it will keep for up to three or four days – it doesn’t last long.
When is tatsoi in season?
It’s in season in spring until early June; and again in early autumn.
Of course I had to give it a go. I was advised that the best way of enjoying the particular flavour of tatsoi is simply raw in salads so that is what I did.
Recipe for soft and crunchy tatsoi salad
• 100g/4 oz tatsoi – couple of bunches – roughly shredded
• 100g/4 oz lambs’ lettuce or a small English floppy lettuce (Butterhead) – something soft which will contrast with the crunchiness of the tatsoi
• 30g/¼ cup chopped pecans – dry fried
• Half a small cucumber – peeled in stripes and cut into cubes
• 1 small avocado – again, the soft texture of the avocado flesh contrasts with the crunchy freshness of the cucumber. Peel and cube
• Borage (goes especially well with the cucumber) or thyme flowers
• 25g/¼ cup crumbled cheese – I think a mild blue cheese (Isle of Wight) is good, but you could also try Caerphilly or Feta
For the dressing:
• 120 ml/½ cup walnut oil
• 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
• 1 tsp maple syrup – use a dark type – follow this link for more information on maple syrup grades
• Smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper
1. Throw all the salad ingredients together
2. Mix the dressing
3. Dress and serve!