As I mentioned earlier, I rambled through the main vegetable market last week. This journey inspired me to use the freshest and most robust ingredients to re-create my version of the tomato salad we ate at the Pot Luck Club, which was most spectacular in terms of the burst of flavour and bold use of ingredients.
Lets rewind. This market doesn’t have fancy ingredients like edible flowers or baby carrots, what it does have, is seasonal produce at its best. In the heart of winter, you’ll find nearly 2 feet long blood orange carrots, small flavour packed baby radish, basketfuls of various kinds of potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, aubergine, and I even found some interesting looking banana flowers. So here I was, gawking my eyes out of the piles and piles of produce, and went for some winter staples: carrot, radish, and fresh mustard micro greens.
With these ingredients in my arsenal, I decided to (obviously) use some cherry tomatoes, to mimic the Pot Luck Club’s tomato salad. I also didn’t want to make a salad dressing with olive oil as a base, so I opted for a more asian dressing, made with sesame seeds (also very warming in the winter), mirin, rice vinegar and soy sauce. The salad that resulted was more a plated pretty salad, as opposed to one thats filled with leaves and can easily be tossed and fed to several people. I sliced the carrots in a more elongated form, to give me thin but oval shaped slivers. As the carrots formed the outer ring protecting the salad, inside were coins of baby radish, topped with some dressing, topped with the mustard micro greens, finally finished with a few scattered drops of dressing.
I tried the dressing again last night, over a bunch of mixed greens (spinach, purple lollo, iceberg lettuce and cos lettuce), a scattering of radish, carrots and a few macadamia nuts. And, it worked! The dressing doesn’t get totally used up in either of the salads, so the balance now sits patiently in my refrigerator, for a rainy day. And, it fools the eaters. People- with fabulous taste buds or not- just can’t pin their finger on what ingredient forms the main base and provides the texture to the dressing. Its a no fuss dressing- just pouring out ingredients into a small bottle and shaking- no chopping/cutting/cleaning! And yet- so very flavourful and attractive to the palate. I almost feel like taking some sliced carrots and attacking the leftovers, like, now!
- 1. 1 long carrot, sliced into thin coins
- 2. 2-3 baby radish, sliced into thin coins
- 3. 1 bunch mustard micro greens, washed
- 4. 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1. 3 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
- 2. 2 tbsp low fat Japanese mayonnaise (or america low fat mayonnaise with 1/2 tsp rice vinegar)
- 3. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 4. 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 5. 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 6. 1/2 tsp mirin
- 7. 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1. Use an open bowl for arranging the salad, preferably wooden.
- 2. Pound the roasted sesame seeds until they resemble fine sand. Mix together with the rest of the dressing ingredients and give a good shake to the dressing. Taste and adjust as desired.
- 3. Arrange the carrots in a circle that forms a kind of fence for the rest of the salad. Spread out the radish in the centre of the bowl, top with the tomatoes, and drizzle on 2-3 tbs of the dressing.
- 4. Finish with the micro greens, and a few more drops of dressing, to taste.
- 1. Use a mandoline to give you neat and paper thin carrots and radish slices.
- 2. The dressing can keep in a jar in the refrigerator for a month, or longer if frozen.
- 3. Use fresh mandarins, seasonal greens, or any other vegetables as a great base for this versatile dressing.