In the Little Stalls Behind Canino's: Huauzontle

Maybe I am spending too much time hanging around at Canino's trying to score. This time, I went home with a bag full or huauzontle [wah-ZONT-lay], a Mexican weed that tastes like broccoli. Some food writers have mistaken it for sorghum, which was imported to the New World from Africa. In fact, the plant (Chenopodium nuttalliae) is native to the Americas. It is a member of the goosefoot family and closely related to the South American grain quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa).

I bought the stuff because I remembered a very fine plate of huauzontle a chef named Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain served me at a restaurant in Monterrey, Mexico. Sections of the weed were boiled, then dipped in a batter and deep-fried. You used the stem as a handle and dipped the crunchy vegetable in a delicious dipping sauce. In the traditional recipe, huauzontle is boiled, then fried in an egg batter and served with some Mexican cheese.

I looked up several recipes for the stuff, but I could never quite muster enough enthusiasm to heat up all that oil for deep-frying. I am ashamed to say that the bag of weed sat in my refrigerator until it got too dry to cook. Anybody have an easy recipe for this stuff -- or suggestions on how to use dried huauzontle?

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