Bok Choy, Mizuna, Arugula or Spinach in Black Sesame Seed Dressing
Boiled Asian greens served with a black sesame seed dressing
Makes 2 to 3 servings as a side dish
- 7 ounces green leaf vegetables, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
- 5 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup dashi (fish stock), see recipe below
- Gather all the stem parts of the vegetables in one hand and slip a rubber band over the bottom part of the stems, so that all the vegetables are held together in one bunch. Alternatively, tie the bunch with cotton kitchen string.
- Bring plenty of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add some salt and simmer the vegetables until firmly cooked, about 2 minutes. To do this, first place the tied stem part in the boiling water, holding the leafy top part with tongs or a pair of cooking chopsticks. After counting to about 30, plunge the leafy part into the water and cook the vegetables for the remaining 1 1/2 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the water and cool under running cold tap water. When the vegetables are cooled, squeeze firmly to remove excess water.
- In a medium bowl combine 1 teaspoon shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and 2 tablespoons dashi. Marinate the vegetables in the mixture and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the sesame seeds and toast until the seeds are plump, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer the sesame seeds to a Japanese suribachi mortar or food processor and process while hot until the color becomes gray and releases a fragrant aroma.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons dashi, 1 to 2 teaspoons shoyu, and sugar to the sesame seeds in the suribachi and blend. (If using a food processor, transfer the processed sesame seeds into a bowl and combine in the bowl with the shoyu, dashi and sugar.)
- Remove the vegetables from the marinade, squeeze firmly to remove excess water. Cut the vegetables into 2-inch lengths. Dress the vegetables with the sesame dressing. Serve the salad in a communal medium-sized bowl or individual small bowls.
Dashi: Japanese Fish Stock
Yields 2 quarts stock
- 2 quarts water
- One 6-inch square kombu (kelp)
- 1 cup tightly packed katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes)
- Wipe the kombu with a damp cotton cloth or paper towel.
- In a large pot, bring the water and kombu almost to a boil over low-medium heat. Cook the kombu for 10 minutes.
- Remove the kombu and preserve for the dashi preparation. Add the fish flakes all at once and count to 10.
- Turn off the heat, skim off any foam, and let the mixture stand for 2 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a sieve lined with a tightly woven cotton cloth. Discard the bonito flakes, or preserve them for the second stock.
- Refrigerate the stock, tightly covered, for up to four days, or freeze it.
This segment appears in show #2807.
Recipe reprinted from The Japanese Kitchen, Harvard Common Press 2002
© 1997 Hiroko Shimbo
Used with permission