I always loved burdock but never had the greens until this spring (2010). Now I’m hooked. Unfortunately the season can be very short. According to the vendor at the Union Square Market, they grow very tall very fast, and then they might become too tough to eat.
My best favorite recipe was with squid. The bitterness of burdock greens is an excellent contrast against sweetness of squid. It may be fine to sauté them alone in butter or olive oil with garlic. But the bitterness could be overwhelming. I found adding potatoes cuts it just right.
I’m sure there could be many ways to cook them, here are some of examples I’ve done so far.
Use your favorite meat for flavoring. I used organic Andouillle from the Oak Grove Plantation at the green market and guanciale from Di Palo in Little Italy. Render fat in a heavy soup pot with butter along with a crushed garlic clove. Add bite-size chopped burdock root, carrot, onion, green beans, creamer potato and sauté more. Add water to cover the vegetables and cook with a bay leaf without covering until vegetables are almost done. Add chopped tomatoes, burdock greens and fresh garbanzo beans. Cook until the beans are done. Season with salt and serve hot. You may serve with freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano if you like.
If you don’t have tomatoes handy, use a little bit of vinegar to finish the soup.
*Squid and Burdock Greens
Sauté chopped burdock greens with garlic in olive oil until al dente. Add cleaned and chopped squid and finish up cooking. Cook squid for a minimum time so that you won’t make them rubbery. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
* Burdock Leaf Chips
I had kale cooked in this way. Tenderer than kale chips, these make a great bar food with good saltiness and full mouth feel even with a small amount of oil.
4 cups of chopped burdock greens
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
Chop leaves and mix with olive oil and salt, then arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet. I use a small amount of Thai chili pepper with dried shrimp. Broil in the oven. Cooking time is critical for this. It depends how you lay out the leaves on a baking sheet and freshness. Please check after a few minutes and stir if necessary. They should be crunchy but not burned.
*Potato and Burdock Greens
Sauté potato in a heavy skillet until browned and crunchy with olive oil, add chopped garlic and burdock greens and finish cooking. I also used a bit of Thai chili flakes.
Here they are served with deckers with ramps in butter.