In past years, in addition to moaning & complaining, I have: eaten all the dandelions in my yard; spent more than I should on dinners of fiddleheads, asparagus, and wild leeks; and then reached for non-local produce. This year I discovered that hostas are not only edible but delicious! So far I have had them sautéed with lemon, mixed into a mushroom asparagus risotto and stir fried with spicy tofu - all delicious. I think that they taste like a cross between kale & spinach with a hint of asparagus.
Things I have learned:
1. The young leaves that have yet to unfurl are a delicacy in Japan, but the unfurled leaves are very good as well
2. All species of hostas are edible (Plants for a Future) as are all of the parts - I plan on trying the flowers in salads this summer.
3. Cooking the shoots like asparagus, the young leaves like spinach, cook the older leaves like cabbage or bitter greens, i.e. collards.
4. You will get looks of scepticism when you serve your first hosta creation...then it will be devoured!
I have learned that the key to any successful stir fry is ingredient prep - have everything ready to toss into the wok before you start cooking...or better still have your sous-chefs chopping while you stir-fry.
Sriracha/hot sauce to taste
2-3 tsp (10-15ml) toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
3 tbsp (45 mL) hoisin sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 pkg (350g) Spicy tofu drained
1 onion thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
4 tsp (20 mL) slivered gingerroot or 1 tsp (5 ml)dried
1 medium/large sweet potato peeled & cut crosswise into matchsticks or thin strips
1-2 cups (250-500ml) other vegetables thinly sliced e.g. peas, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, sprouts, etc.
6-8 cups (1.25 L) hosta leaves, roughly chopped or sliced
3/4 cup (120ml) chopped fresh cilantro or 1/4c thai basil (60ml) (optional)
1. Mix together the hot sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, soy and hoisin sauce – set aside
2. In large wok or skillet, heat ½ the oil over medium-high heat.
3. Stir-fry the tofu until lightly brown, remove from the wok & set aside
4. Heat the remaining oil and add the onion, garlic & ginger – stir-fry 1-2 minutes until slightly softened
5. Add the sweet potato and all other hard vegetables i.e. carrots – stir-fry until barely tender; 5-7 minutes
Add a small amount of water or stock at anytime if the vegetables begin to stick
6. Add the other vegetables - stir-fry until barely tender; 1 minute
7. Add the hosta leaves – stir-fry until all of the vegetables are tender; 2-4 minutes
8. Add the hoisin sauce mixture and bring to a boil - stir-fry 1 minute
9. Toss in the cilantro & tofu if using & season with soy & hot sauce
Serve over rice or noodles.
This made enough for 4 portions in my house w/ 2 teenagers…so maybe 6 normal portions.