i like sesame. i mean, i really like sesame. it might actually be one of my favorite flavors ever. how can something that isn’t a nut be so darn nutty? its oils are fantastic, its texture is excellent, and even when ground into a powder it takes on a sort of smoothness that is indescribable. which doesn’t even begin to comment on halvah, probably one of the most concrete reasons for the existence of god.
anyway, this salad incorporates all manner of things sesame into a creamy dressing that goes fantastically on anything, especially japanese mustard greens and cabbage.
- mizuna (or your choice of greens)
- green onion
- a can of tuna
- ground sesame seeds
- sesame oil
- black pepper
- mung bean sprouts
- a bit of sugar
- first, prepare the greens. you have all kinds of possibilities, but if i were you i would stick with either mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) or cabbage. if you use iceberg lettuce, i swear i will find you and make you wish you never had. jeez, i don’t even know how that stuff qualifies as food. anyway, if you are using mizuna, slice off the base of each bundle, and chop roughly into about inch long pieces. cabbage is a little trickier. remove the outer two leaves and core the cabbage, and then slice as thin has humanly possible. the thinner you slice, the softer your salad will be and the better it will retain the dressing. once cut, add them to a large mixing bowl.
- cut your onion in half, remove the core if there is a trace of green, and slice as thin as humanly possible. the ideal onions for this salad are translucent when raw. while you are at it, remove the base of a bundle of green onions and chop as finely as humanly possible using the folding trick. uniformity and precision of knife skills are essential to making this salad the best it can be. add them both to the greens.
- wash a package of mung bean sprouts, let them drain in a colander, and roughly break a handful into your mixing bowl.
- here’s the good part. drain most of the liquid from the can of tuna, but retain a little. add to the bowl with black pepper, a healthy portion of mayonnaise, a handful or two of ground sesame seeds, a tiny bit of sugar, and a splash or two of sesame oil. don’t overdo the sesame oil, it is for mostly aroma, and if the quantity is too great it will overpower the whole salad.
- mix gently so as not to wilt the greens or break the mung beans any more than they already are. this salad is meant to be piled because of its thick texture. show off with it. make it a centerpiece of the table that everyone can grab from. a pile of a salad like this will keep people coming back for dinner parties until the end of time.
serves 2 an insane amount of food, or serves 4 a reasonable portion size
goes excellent with:
nihonshu. a little japanese sake goes a long way when it comes to the flavor of tuna, whether fresh or canned. the slight fishiness of this salad along with the intense nuttiness that the sesame allows the fruitiness of rice wine to provide a much needed contrast to the meal.
hot green tea. i’m honestly not the biggest tea fan, but a well-steeped pot of japanese shincha goes a long way. besides, i think they deport you from shizuoka prefecture if you tell them you don’t like green tea.
garlic-shiso broiled porkchops. a creamy salad only gets better with the addition of a hearty portion of tender, succulent, thinly sliced meat. and we all know that among meats, pork reigns supreme.