MORE DELICIOUS DISHES
Another popular komatsuna dish is goma yogoshi, made with shimeji mushrooms. Parboil the komatsuna, then drain it. Break up the shimeji and parboil, too. Mix the komatsuna and shimeji with ground sesame seeds (goma), sugar, soy sauce and dashi.
When draining water from komatsuna, do not squeeze. Instead, put it in a strainer or colander, allowing the water to drain naturally to preserve its flavor.
Komatsuna, unfortunately, does not keep well. Wrap it in newspaper and store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME “KOMATSUNA”
Komatsuna was named after an area along the eastern edge of old Edo — near what was then the Komatsu river (which no longer exists). Why, might one wonder, was a vegetable that was widely grown all around Edo named after this particular area?
During the Genroku era (1688-1704), Tsunayoshi, the fifth Tokugawa Shōgun, was served fuyuna (what komatsuna was called at the time) while out hunting in the area with a falcon. “Delicious!” he said, delighted with its flavor. “Henceforth, ʻkomatsuna’ shall be its name.” Or so goes a popular tale.
Though this story sounds almost plausible, the truth is that a farmer who was an expert at developing improved vegetable varieties gave it the name ʻkomatsuna’ to commemorate his success in creating this improved variety of fuyuna, and later popularized the vegetable’s new name.
(Translated by Roy Mashima)
(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)