Thursday, July 24, 2014

Japanese Style Spinach

This Japanese specialty is know as O-hitashi and is a simple to prepare side dish for chicken or fish, such as salmon or tuna. What i made might not be called O-histashi as i have changed the dressing to my taste. Well, whatever, not only is this recipe simple to prepare, it only needed everyday ingredients, plus water and two very simple, quick cooking techniques - blanching and dry-toasting.  Some easy plating tricks, will at the end, result to something that is visually quite stunning, delicious and healthy too.  

1 lb fresh spinach (not baby spinach), washed well, dried well,( i leave the root ends attached, so wash in-between the stems - the root ends will be removed only after blanching as it will be easier to manage)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar (to balance the tartness of the vinegar and the soy sauce which can be too salty)
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to pop and are golden brown and fragrant
Bring a large pot of salted water(i added a little sugar) to a boil over high heat.  While the water comes to a boil, prepare a large bowl full of ice water.  Set aside.
Once the water is boiling, add the spinach to the pot.  Cook until spinach is wilted and then transfer spinach immediately to the bowl of ice water. swirling gently to ensure all of the leaves cool right away.  Spinach should be a nice, bright green color.
Gently squeeze out as much excess water as possible.  
Place the squeezed spinach in a bowl and loosen the spinach.  Mix the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, water and sesame oil together and pour the mixture over the spinach.  Allow to sit and marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on to a cutting board.  Remove the root ends from the spinach,  take half portion of spinach and place it on top of plastic wrap.  Arrange the other half of the spinach beside the first half with the stems and leaves, the opposite  way.  Fold the edge of plastic wrap over the spinach and roll the plastic wrap over, pulling the plastic wrap as tightly as possible.  Squeeze the wrapped spinach to remove as much of the dressing as possible. Do not remove the plastic wrap.
Using a very sharp knife, cut/slice the rolled spinach into equal cylinders.  (You will probably need to trim each end of the log away as well so that they’re nice and flat.)  Sliced cylinders can be left in the refrigerator covered gently with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Put toasted sesame seeds in a shallow dish.  Dip one end of each of the cylinders into the sesame seeds, remove the plastic wrap and then place on a serving dish. Serve immediately.

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