It feels like we’ve been tackling the flu since our return from Japan (or are we just sick with longing to go back?). When I caught sight of this recipe chock full of garlic, ginger, and dark leafy greens loaded with calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, I thanked its source, Eating Well, for giving me a treatment I don’t need to gag on and swallow with huge gulps of water. Not only are the ingredients healthy, but this salad tickles your sweet, salty, bitter, and sour buds. Throw in some kelp and you’d have all five taste buds present.
The original recipe is by a woman named Ellen Ogden who used to own a lettuce garden in Vermont. It looked pretty stellar, but I didn’t have an hour to roast garlic, and also wanted it raw to retain more nutrients. I also changed the proportions a little, threw in some mint for sweetness, and added a little crunchy shallot. I haven’t read through Eating Well in a while, but was impressed with the latest issue’s recipes, and also an especially good (and depressing) article on the disappearance of bees worldwide.
Here’s hoping these spicy mouthfuls will kick me back into action.
Small bunch watercress, washed and with woody stems removed
Equal portion Japanese mizuna, washed and torn (if necessary)*
1-2 scallions, white ends removed, outer green layer stripped, and sliced thinly
A handful of mint leaves, washed and torn
5-8 stalks asparagus (not pencil kind), washed, woody stems snapped off, and cut into 1 inch logs
1 medium shallot, sliced thinly
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons blond sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the asparagus in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and roast, turning every 5 minutes, for 10-15 minutes, until charred and cooked through. Remove from sheet and cool.
Combine the greens with the shallot and mint in the salad bowl. If you have a wooden salad bowl (this purchase is still on my list), rub it with a pinch of salt and a clove of garlic.
Dry-roast the sesame seeds in a small saute pan on medium heat, tossing often, until golden. Remove and set aside to cool.
Add the sesame seeds and asparagus to the greens. Dress and toss. Serve immediately. Goes great with miso and some rice.
1/2 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Yield of 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Whisk ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.
* Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard, has the look of a dandelion and a peppery taste, but is milder than arugula. Baby kale or mustard greens can be substituted if need be.