Bitter Greens with Dashi – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu 2 small bunches (1 1/3lb) Bitter Greens: mustard, turnip, or komatsuna
1/3 cup Dashi
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
2 Tbls freshly shaved katsuobushi or 3 Tbls hanakatsuo
Bring a large pot of hot water to a boil and place a large bowl of cold water on the kitchen sink. Hold the bunches of greens by their tops and lower the stems into the boiling water. Count to ten or twenty, then drop the greens into the pot and cook an additional 1-3 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a strainer and dump them immediately into the cold water. Turn on the tap and plunge your hands into the water, lifting the greens up directly into the stream of cold running tap water to cool them. Pull out a few connected strands and squeeze down the length of the greens to express the excess water. Ley the greens on the cutting board, cut off the end tips, and slice into 2” lengths.
Squeeze the greens one more time and arrange the clumps attractively on a medium-sized saucer with the cut sides face up. Season the dashi with soy sauce, pour over the greens, and sprinkle with shaved katsuobushi right before serving.
Variation: Also nice with some slivered citrus peel, such as yuzu or meyer lemon. Although in this case I would cut back, or omit the katsuobushi.
Daikon and Daikon Leaf Salad – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1 medium-small daikon
1 TB Sea Salt
2 small or 1 medium Yuzu (or substitute Meyer Lemon)
2 TB Organic Miso
2 TB Organic Rice Vinegar
4 TB Organic Rapeseed Oil
2 TB Slivered Scallions
Slice the daikon into manageable lengths. Cut those pieces in half vertically and slice lengthwise into fine slabs. Lay those slabs flat on the cutting board and slice into fine julienned strands about 1.5 inches long. Put the julienned daikon into a medium-sized bowl as you go. Chop a large handful of the most tender leaves medium -fine and add to the julienned daikon. Sprinkle with the salt and massage in gently. Let sit for 10 minutes. Pare off the yellow zest of a yuzu or meyer lemon with a sharp knife, avoiding the white pith. Stack roughly and slice into fine slivers. Muddle the miso with the vinegar and whisk in the oil until emulsified. Squeeze the daikon and daikon leaves in handfuls and drop into a clean bowl. Toss with the yuzu peel and onion greens. Give the dressing a quick whisk and fold into the daikon right before serving. Ratio: miso:rice vinegar:oil – 1:1:2
Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
half a napa cabbage
½ Tbls fine sea salt
2 Tbls mild citrus juice (yuzu, Seville orange, Meyer lemon)
2 Tbls rapeseed oil
1 Tbls unhulled sesame seeds
Slice the cabbage crosswise into fine strands and toss lightly in a large bowl with the salt. Measure the citrus juice into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Pour over the cabbage, mix gently to distribute the dressing. Toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop. Toss into the salad and serve immediately.
New Potato Tempura – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
½ lb medium-sized potatoes
Best quality rapeseed or peanut oil
½ cup unbleached cake flour
½ cup cold sparkling water1
8 tsp fine white sea salt
3 ice cubes
organic soy sauce for dipping
Cut the potatoes into ½” wedges (measured on the thick side). Drop the potato pieces into a small pot of salted cold water. The potatoes should be covered by about 1”. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the centers still have some give but the outsides are soft. Drain and cool.
Line a cookie sheet with a thick layer of newspaper and top with a layer of paper towels. Set next to the stove. Over low heat, warm 4” of oil in a medium-sized heavy, stainless steel saucepan. Whisk the flour with the sparkling water and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Take out two pairs of long cooking chopsticks or tongs. Use one pair to dip in the batter and one pair to remove the tempura from the oil. Increase the heat on the oil to about medium-high; the oil should not be smoking. Test the oil with a drop of batter before starting. It should sizzle and immediately form a small ball as it hits the oil; but should not brown. Adjust the oil temperature as needed.
When the oil is hot, drop the ice cubes into the batter and stir once. Add 5 or 6 pieces of potatoes at a time to the batter. Pick up one piece at a time, let the excess batter drip off, and slip into the hot oil. Roll the tempura pieces gently as the batter turns a pale (slightly) golden color. When all sides are cooked, remove to the prepared cookie sheet. Continue cooking until all pieces have been fried, but (if possible) serve each batch immediately. Dip in fine white sea salt or soy sauce before eating.