Friday, November 20, 2009

Snap a Nappa Salad

The Asian salad that I snapped together for my daughter's cross country team's potluck last night is posted here, with a few additions. There were 3 requests for the recipe, so thought I'd try to scribble down my notes and post them here. (Skip to the recipe below if you want to miss the slightly graphic description of the local meat section of the Asian market in my neighborhood which may deter you from taking an interest in the recipe.) I live in a neighborhood of immigrant populations, many of them Asian. The Asian supermarkets abound! When I decided to make the salad for tonight, I headed to a shop down the street that is less adapted to the Western tastes. After filling my basket with greens, I wandered down the isles. I passed the refridgerated meat section showing many cuts of pork, and packages of things like spleens and intestines. I saw something that looked like Fois Gras, but it wasn't. Simply raw pigs ears! Not smoked and chewy like my dog Lily loves, but pale pale pink. The most difficult was something watery and red called "pork blood solution". I thought I was brave to look, yet my stomach was churning. Endeavoring to prevent gagging or loosing it right in the store, reminded me of trying to avoid sea sickness while my solid ground was bobbing all over.  The fish section was my relief, a little more friendly. I looked over and dried shrimp and many varieties of fish sauce, jars of pickled cabbage as well as interesting bamboo baskets and urn style pots for the stove. The instant coffee packets with fiber and ginseng made me really curious though. What kind of place did I land in? Am I a foreigner in my own neighborhood? Wonderful!

One medium Napa cabbage. Slice finely and then cut the opposite way once so the strands arn't too long.
2 or 3 trimmed green onions sliced, omitting any tough green ends
1 handful of washed and chopped cilantro. The biggest stems removed and loosely chopped.
4 handfuls of baby spinach, washed and dried
3 handfuls of arugula, washed and dried
Some carrots, peeled and sliced
Generous spoonfulls of sesame seeds (1/2 a handfull or more?)
A large amount of sliced and toasted almonds (one handfull?)
Tofu cubes (note: I like plain but my daughter prefers flavored., so I dipped them in a sauce, (4 parts soysauce and one part maple syrup) concoction and sauteed to brown them and flavor them)
Chives (I added dried chives)
Crisp cucumbers sliced
Garlic powder and ginger powder, salt and pepper, and lemon squeeze and toss the salad.
Toss in a handfull of crunchy wasabi peas and set aside the garnish of cilantro, japanese seaweed crackers and slices of kumquat..
Later at the potluck I tossed the salad with an Asian soy garlic dressing that was purchased. When I make my own, I add peanut oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, squeeze of lemon, toasted sesame oil, water, fresh grated ginger, pressed garlic, salt and pepper, and a little mayo (or a little miso or both).

Favorite additions that I did not use this time: mushrooms, fresh or frozen peas, snap peas, edemame beans (shelled), red cabbage, Kumquat slices, mandarin orange segments, watercress, peanuts instead of almonds, fresh bean sprouts, lime juice instead of lemon, crispy fried rice vermicelli or bean thread noodles, and more.


isobel said...

Next time I am going to try adding some slices of Asian pear and a few spots of red, dried cranberries in the mix. Might be great to accompany a Ramen Soup party for a lighter celebratory meal during the holidays.

isobel said...

Actually - Asian pear and pomegranite make a good addition.