Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

Mizuna is new to me. Fresh tarragon...oddly enough, pretty new to me too. Take the two of them together and you've got a new recipe for me and for you! I first came across mizuna when it arrived in my CSA box last week. I starred at it a bit quizzically because I've been on a bad "veggie identification" streak as of late. I've mistaken Jerusalem artichokes for ginger, watermelon radishes for rutabagas, rutabagas for turnips. Not great. At first I was thinking the mizuna was some sort of arugula. Turns out that wasn't too far off (albeit, still wrong), but arugula does have a slight peppery taste like arugula. Though in comparison, it has a much thicker stem and to steal a phrase from Serious Eats, the leaves are more "frond-like" in appearance.

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

After some more digging, I learned that mizuna is native to Japan and considered a mustard green. It's typically pickled, but I've also found several recipes that call for it tossed in salads. The first time I dipped into my mizuna CSA stash, I simply sautéed it with salt and coconut oil, then tucked it underneath salmon . Inspiration struck as I piled my fork high with sautéed mizuna, plus the dijon and tarragon crusted salmon. In one bite, there were hints of bitter greens, some acidity from the dijon and sweet, anise-y tarragon. They balanced each other in such a wonderfully unexpected way, and thus, a new recipe was born. 

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Since mizuna struck me as a much lighter - almost feathery - green, I wanted to avoid weighing it down while sautéing with something like dijon. To replicate the brininess and acidity of the mustard, my brain went to capers. It may seem a bit strange to mix the sweet and salty flavors here, as both capers and tarragon have very distinct flavors, but they really do complement each other beautifully in this dish. Pairing with a side of salmon certainly doesn't hurt either!

I'm still learning my way around mizuna, but I like to think that hopefully this first attempt would make Samin Nosrat proud. I could almost hear her voice in my head repeating "Salt Fat Acid Heat" as I tried to pull through those elements. A pinch of kosher salt, a spoonful of coconut oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and hit of capers - sautéed over heat to perfection. Salt, fat, acid and heat. We've got the whole gang here!

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots
mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

serves 2

what you'll need:
1 bunch mizuna (about 8 oz), roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
kosher salt, to taste
juice from 1/4 - 1/2 of a fresh lemon

what you'll do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in medium frying pan for one minute over medium heat. Add in minced garlic, stirring frequently for about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic. 
  2. Add mizuna to frying pan, stirring frequently to coat greens with garlic and oil. Reduce heat to low and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until greens begin to wilt. 
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in capers and chopped tarragon. Add pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon to taste. Serve immediately.