Having lived in West Philly, I’m fairly accustomed to having Ethiopian food at least once a week. Hand-feeding myself spicy goodness is apparently my thing, plus I get kind of drunk from the super-high iron content of the injera bread. When I lived in Richmond, I visited Nile restaurant so often that I now send postcards to the employees, so I got excited when they told me to visit Mesob (“I think it’s on some corner, you know? A Corner?”), and lo and behold, Charlottesville’s Ethiopian offerings are tasty, too.
This Ethiopian dish turns collard greens into a taste sensation.
This version of the Gomen dish is vegetarian, but they also serve a main dish, Gomen Besiga, that includes cubed meat. The flavorful, tender greens are a nice counterpart to almost everything on the menu, especially the meat stews and legumes—if you’re there for dinner, go for the Key Wet (buttery, tomato-simmered lean beef) or the Alicha Kik Wet (split peas with ginger and garlic) and you’ll get a scoop of Gomen on the side. If you want a big pile of it, the entrée version comes with a Berbere-spiced lentil dish called Key Misir Wet, an Ethiopian standard. Have a little imported honey wine while you’re there, too
Mesob’s Gomen for Two
2 cups washed, chopped collard greens
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup white onion
1 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
(I’ve tried it with fresh, also good)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Boil four cups water, add collard greens and cook until water has evaporated. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add garlic, onion and jalapeno, stir frequently until garlic and onion start to brown. Add collard greens and mix well. Sprinkle ginger, cayenne and salt, stir until evenly distributed and moisture has cooked down to your liking. Serve it with bread. Or make your own injera, if you’re up for a few dozen failed dough-scrunchies before you get a piece that’s flat and lacy. Eat with your right hand.