It’s that time of year again–the farmer’s market has gone back to being weekly. And the farmer’s market is, in my experience, the only place to get interesting early spring vegetables, like scapes, green garlic and greens you’ve never heard of, like komatsuna greens. If you’re farther south than I am, you might also be getting peas and snow peas, and if you’re just plain lucky, maybe you have a mushroom guy. Alas, I do not have the peas or pea pods (although I will soon) and there are no mushroom sellers at my market (double alas). But the great thing about fried rice, is that pretty much anything goes, which makes it a fabulous way to show off pretty much any seasonal produce. (And you can always go to the grocery store for the mushrooms and frozen peas–I do.)
This fried rice was a huge hit in my house. I think the girls had a whopping 3 (!) servings each, and they did not pick around the greens, which was extra impressive. It’s not the healthiest meal ever, but by loading it with lots of veggies, it is not the least healthy either. The ideal rice for this would be jasmine, but the best approach is to work it into your meal schedule and just make extra of rice for another dish. Which is why the rice I used was Kokuhu Rose, which I had made for a Japanese lunch earlier in the week. The rice needs to be somewhat stale and dry, so leftover works best, but if you are in a pinch just make the rice about an hour early and then spread it out onto a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so.
4 eggs, whisked
4 thick slices bacon, diced
6 cups cooked leftover rice (do not use fresh rice–if you must, cook it an hour in advance and spread it onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 20 minutes)
1 small-medium red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced ginger
4 green garlic roots (they look like scallions, which you can sub in a pinch), cleaned and chopped, white and light green parts separated from dark green
4 good handfuls shitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed, thinly sliced
4 good handfuls of komatsuna leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped (can sub spinach)
10 oz bag frozen peas, or fresh equivalent
several handfuls of snow peas if you can get them (it’s too early here so I just threw some frozen broccoli in)
2-3 T soy sauce
1 T dark sesame oil
1 T honey
Make sure all of your ingredients are prepped before starting. The bacon and eggs will cook more slowly, but once they are done this dish takes moments to prepare.
Begin by scrambling the eggs in a large nonstick skillet (or wok), lightly brushed with oil. Remove the eggs and set aside in a bowl when done. Do not overcook.
Place the bacon in the skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally. When the bacon is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and return to the heat.
Turn the heat to high and add the sliced red onion. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until wilted and becoming translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, and the white/light green parts of the green garlic. Cook, tossing, for another 2 minutes. Add the shitake mushrooms and cook for another minute.
Add the rice. Depending on how your veggies have cooked (i.e., if your pan is too dry), you may need to add a drizzle of oil. Also, depending on your rice, you may need to vigorously break up the clumps while tossing it (I used a leftover sticky Japanese rice so it was quite clumpy). Toss and break the rice up for 1-2 minutes. Add the komatsuna leaves and fresh peas (if using–add frozen ones later) and the soy sauce and toss for another minute. Add the frozen peas (if using) and snow peas (or thawed frozen broccoli) with the sesame oil and toss; add the bacon and eggs back into it and toss to distribute until everything is heated through. Toss the honey in. Taste for additional soy sauce. I like to serve with an assortment of condiments, such as soy sauce, duck sauce, Thai sweet-hot garlic dipping sauce, chili garlic sauce, etc.