In my last post, I mentioned that I love vegetables.
It’s true. I’ve literally liked, at the very least, every vegetable that I’ve ever eaten.
I especially love the vegetables that received less love such as cabbage, okra, slimy nopales, cooked spinach, and mustard greens.
I even like soggy, boiled brussel sprouts and stringy, pre-frozen asparagus. And now I can add another veggie to the list.
I cooked a bitter melon and I liked it.
This banged-up bitter melon came from the Asian & American Market on Main Ave. I’d never tasted a bitter melon, but often see it appear on Chowtimes, one of my favorite blogs, and Paul, of this season’s Top Chef, incorporated the melon into a “least favorite dish” during the conveyor belt Quickfire challenge.
Following the suggestions of many online sources, (including this thread from Chowhound and The Bitter Melon Truth from Simple, Good, and Tasty) I cut the bitter melon in half, removed the seeds and white pith with a spoon, and sliced thinly. A quick blanch in salt water, shock in ice water, and a couple rinses supposedly removed some of the bitterness.
The blanch and rinses mellowed the bitterness, though it was most certainly still bitter melon. Lately, I’ve been craving sour, vinegary, bitter foods so the bitter melon tasted palatable to me. It’s highly regarded for its health properties including the management of blood sugar and acne. Was my body trying to tell me something by screaming out for this vegetable I have never eaten?
To balance the bitterness, many favored pairing bitter melon with a fatty element. I browned some fresh Italian sausage links with sliced onion. Then, I added the bitter melon slices, seasoned with tamari, ground cayenne, cracked black pepper, and plenty of mirin.