Water spinach is a delicate green commonly found in Asian markets. It is a member of the morning glory family. It is also known as Chinese spinach, kangkong, and swamp cabbage. It has long hollow stems and narrow pointed leaves. It is similar in flavor profile to spinach and usually harvested and consumed while young and delicate. It is most often seen in Asian stir fries and sautes.
Here we started with a salad. The water spinach-lemon verbena sauce was a great base for the dish. We broke down the rest of the water spinach into different parts: longer pieces of the thick lower stems, more delicate upper stems with the leaves attached, and rounds of stem which look very similar to small pasta rounds (another avenue we are exploring). The king trumpet mushroom stem is charred and then marinated with smoked paprika, lemon oil and salt. As it sits the mushroom juices blend with the seasonings and the flavor deepens and matures. We used this mixture to dress the water spinach pieces. We then put a single layer of water spinach rounds on a pool of the water spinach-verbena sauce. We lay the mushroom stem on top and then arranged the more delicate stem and leaf pieces over it. To us the dish combines all of the best aspects of foraging for mushrooms in the forest with an aromatic top layer, followed by smokey, earthy notes below and green herbaceous flavors running throughout to pull it all together.