Today’s simple little recipe is one I derived from a common Japanese way of dressing cold greens (notably spinach). The dressing in question is made by toasting sesame seeds then grinding them to a paste along with a little sugar and mirin, sake and soy sauce. The result is called ‘Spinach Gomae’ (if using Spinach) and, while I like the dressing generally, I also find that it can have a bit of a bitter after taste.
I decided to try something that resulted in the same sweet/sesame flavors, but avoided any bitterness and, accordingly settled on Hummus as a milder (if not very Japanese) base for the dressing. I also incorporated a little light miso for depth, and then included a rich Japanese Sesame oil for the proper sesame punch. For today’s dish, I am using Broccolini rather than spinach to make a nice little appetizer salad…
- 2 cups pre-blanched Broccolini, trimmed of thick stems;
- 3 Tbsp. Hummus;
- 1 tsp. Light (white) Miso;
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice;
- 1 Tbsp. Dark Sesame Oil;
- 1 tsp. Sugar;
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Mirin;
- Sesame Seeds for garnish.
Assembly is super simple … First, blend together all the ingredients except the Broccolini and sesame seeds and mix to a smooth paste. Allow this to sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
When you are ready, add the dressing to the Broccolini and mix. The idea here is not to drench, or drown the greens in the dressing, but rather just add enough to coat the pieces with sauce. Arrange the greens attractively on individual serving plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish. Serve…
When I introduced Broccolini to you in a ‘Foodstuffs’ post a couple of winters ago, I didn’t use it in a recipe immediately, but I did show you how to go about blanching it for subsequent use in other dishes.
Some weeks back, I was blanching a fairly large amount with a view to making a few different things and I had a little bit leftover that I put to use in the simple salad you see pictured above. It is a bit of an amalgam of a few different salads I have seen but, in the main, it is Greek in spirit and very easy to put together. Read on for the recipe…. Continue reading “Broccolini Salad”
I have been eating a fair bit of coleslaw these past several moons. Not just because I like it, but, as long as it is homemade, and doesn’t use any of the commercial coleslaw dressings that contain a fair but of sugar, it fits quite nicely into my diet. There are generally two types of slaw; the vinegar dressed sort, and the creamy type based on a mayo dressing. I like the latter but I also like to jazz it up a little by changing the usual sort of dressing recipe. This particular one uses some of the fresh Horseradish Root I posted about recently, and also some of my Spicy Pickled Bell Pepper (although, if this is not an option for you, you can just use the standard slivered or grated carrot instead)… Continue reading “Spicy Coleslaw”
This dish was inspired by a cucumber salad I had in a Japanese restaurant not long ago. I haven’t tried to reproduce the exact dish (it was quite a spicy affair), but I did borrow the idea of using very thick slices rather than the much thinner ones you commonly see in Japanese cucumber appetizers… Continue reading “Dressed Cucumbers”
I came across the idea for this dish in a Chinese cookery book featuring home-style meals. That version used plain steamed chicken and contained nothing else beyond the grapefruit other than some sliced green pepper, all of which dressed in grapefruit juice with a little sugar added. I have jazzed up the basic idea by using grilled chicken, replacing the bell pepper with celery, and adding some of the Chinese Black Fungus commonly known as ‘Tree-Ear or ‘Cloud-Ear’, for color and texture.
By the way, I am using some ready prepared sections of pink grape-fruit I bought at my supermarket. This saves having to peel the fruit and remove the membranes from each piece. The variety I bought also had some sugar added to the juice. You can use fresh grapefruit if you like but make sure to save at least 3 or 4 tablespoons of the juice as you section it. You will likely want to add a little sugar to taste, as well… Continue reading “Chicken and Grapefruit Salad”
There all sorts of salads in Asian cuisine featuring cucumber (or other veggies) which are first salted and then later served in a dressing of some sort. Sometimes, the cucumber, or whatever, is allowed to ferment slightly to produce a nice lactic acid pickle and, at other times, as here, the salting time is just brief enough to soften the flesh ad make it receptive to flavorings. Today’s dish doesn’t hail from any particular cuisine but is both Chinese and Japanese in character… Continue reading “Sesame Cucumber Salad”
The inspiration for this dish originally came from a Vietnamese recipe I came across for a salad of pork and shrimp. Aside from replacing the pork with thin slices of Japanese Tataki Style Beef, I ended up changing the heavily acidic, lime juice based dressing to something quite different. Accordingly, I ultimately strayed so far from the original production that the resemblance is purely coincidental, as they say. It really can no longer be called a Vietnamese dish, exactly, but it is certainly Asian in spirit… Continue reading “Minted Tataki Beef with Shrimp”
I have read, and been told, on many occasions that a ‘true’ Greek Salad never (ever) contains lettuce. I never questioned this assertion before but, when I came to actually reflect upon the notion, it began to strike me as a bit suspect. Think for a moment… one can probably encounter scores, if not hundreds of different types of salad in Greece so trying to specify the ingredients of a ‘Greek Salad’ is no different than dictating what constitutes an American, or a British Salad. What people mean by ‘Greek Salad’ is, I suspect, something that contains (vaguely) Greek ingredients but is only made in restaurants outside of Greece… Continue reading “Greek Salad”
I experimented with quite a lot grilled vegetable dishes this past barbecue season, many of which were designed to be eaten cold. One of my favorite combinations was a delicious salad made with grilled and marinated, mushrooms, red peppers and asparagus… Continue reading “Grilled Vegetable Salad”
Condiments and side dishes based on Yoghurt, especially when paired with cucumber, are popular all the way from Eastern Europe, through the Middle East, Central Asia, and across India. The Greek variety known as Tzatziki has a counterpart in the Turkish Cacik , Iranian ‘Mast-o-khiar’, an Afghan sauce for grilled meats, and also the popular Cucumber Raita used in Indian cuisine as a ‘cool-down’ accompaniment to spicy-hot dishes.
A basic Tzatziki generally consists of Yoghurt, chopped or grated cucumber, garlic and olive oil, but parsley, mint, dill, lemon juice are often added as well. It is always served cold and, while it can be served just as a dip with pita bread, or even crudités (for example), it commonly appears as a sauce for grilled meats. It is not a standard use, but adding sugar allows a tzatziki to make a pretty decent ‘Donair’ type sauce as well… Continue reading “Tzatziki”