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Bamboo Shoots: Stir-Fry Staple

Asian cooks simmer, braise, stir-fry, and even grill this off-white shoot of the bamboo plant, which is crisp and slightly bitter. To prepare fresh shoots, peel back the tough outer layers (carefully: They have bristles) and parboil the shoots for 20 minutes to let the bitter compounds dissipate. Unless you shop at Asian markets, though, you will probably be using canned, in which case you should drain, rinse, and dry the shoots before using.