Red mizuna is defined by its unique shape, texture, and flavor. Its fragile and thin rhubarb-colored stems produce crimson-tinged elongated leaves with a saw-tooth shape and a feather-thin texture. The leaves are preferred for their flavor-forward notes of mustard and tanginess of sorrel.
Red mizuna's most appropriate use is as an ingredient within salads, yet it can also be cooked. The stalks and leaves should be separated and cooked independently due to invariably different cook times. Mizuna is a common stir fry and soup ingredient, and it can be adapted to most recipes calling for mustard greens or even cabbage. More modern and atypical uses include adding the leaves as a topping to pizza, tossing into pasta, blending into pesto, and adding to a sandwich or burger. Companion ingredients include apples, pears, peaches, figs, citrus, nuts, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, chiles, basil, mint, cream, cheeses, tomatoes, zucchini, and grains.
Refrigerate unwashed mizuna in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper for up to 5 days.
Mizuna and Pea Pasta
8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 shallots peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh or frozen English peas defrost peas if frozen
3-4 cups mizuna
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese plus more for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
3 radishes thinly sliced
- Set a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, according to package directions, until al dente. Carefully scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. If you're using fresh peas, they should turn bright green.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cooked pasta along with the 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the mizuna, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and feta cheese and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mizuna begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with sliced radishes and a sprinkle of feta cheese.