The other day, I saw fresh edible chrysanthemum or “shungiku” 春菊 at the Japanese grocery store. Since this is my wife’s favorite Japanese vegetable and only sporadically appears in the grocery store, I got it. Although the most classic way to enjoy shungiku is in sukiyaki すき焼き, we were not having sukiyaki this time. So, I made a small appetizer with shungiku and served it with a skewer of chicken tenderloin in yakitori style with pickled plum 梅肉 and perilla 大葉 as a starter one evening.
I decided to make it a bit interesting and made a roll wrapped with thin omelet and a nori sheet.
In addition, I made the thick stem part into “Oshitashi” おひたし or “Nibitashi” 煮浸し garnished with bonito flakes.
I should have taken the pictures while I was making the roll but I did not.
Preparation of shungiku:
I washed and removed any wilted leaves and cut off the very end of the stems. I removed the leaves with thin stalks and separated the thick stems.
In a large pot, I cooked the thick stems first in salted boiling water for several minutes until cooked but still crunchy in the center. I scooped them up with a large slotted spoon and let them cool on the plate until I could handle them. I cut them into 2 inch logs.
I cooked the remaining shungiku for less than 1 minute, drained, and let cool on a paper towel lined plate.
Thick stems (3rd picture):
I immediately soaked them in warm seasoned broth (dashi broth, soy sauce and mirin). Once it came to room temperature, I placed it in the refrigerator. I served it garnished with dried bonito flakes.
Leaves (1st and 2nd pictures):
After I squeezed out the excess moisture, I dressed them in karashi shouyu からし醤油 (Japanese hot mustard, sugar and soy sauce). It could be served as is (after cut into a reasonable size) but I made a roll with thin omelet and then dried nori sheet using a bamboo mat. I let it sit wrapped in plastic wrap for few minutes or until the nori sheet adhered to itself. I cut it in 1 inch cylinders.
Shungiku has a very unique nice flavors. Using two different ways of preparing, both were quite good as small starter dish for sake.