KALE WITH JAPANESE SESAME DRESSING

Sesame dressing seems to make everyone gobble down heaps of greens with abandon. This flavorful dressing is easy to make and it quickly transforms simple blanched kale or spinach into an irresistible dish.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 -2 pounds kale, tough ribs removed - spinach is also delicious
  • 1/2 cup toasted white sesame seeds (if you can't find toasted seeds, you can buy raw sesame seeds and quickly toast them yourself)
  • 3 tablespoons Mirin (sweet sake for cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons GF Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • optional: 2 teaspoons light agave nectar (I find kale likes this extra hit of sweet) 
  • optional: if you are the type of person who happen to have dashi on hand, add a splash or two to the dressing
Heat a large pot full of water for blanching the greens.  

In 2 batches, blanch kale leaves in unsalted water for a 1-2 minutes until greens are tender and vibrant green. The age, size and heartiness of your kale will determine how long you'll need to cook the leaves. After about a minute of cooking, I pull out a leaf to start tasting for doneness. (Keep in mind that spinach should only need 20-30 seconds to blanch.) Use tongs to remove blanched greens from the hot water.

Let your cooked greens cool to room temp in a colander while you blanch another batch. Place the second batch of cooked greens into the colander to cool with the first batch. (If you have a garden, save your blanching water. Let it fully cool, then use that nutrient-rich liquid to water your plants.) 

While the greens are cooling, go ahead and make your dressing. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, blend toasted sesame seeds, Mirin, Tamari, rice vinegar, and agave. It's easier to achieve a creamier consistency using a food processor, but sometimes I prefer the therapeutic labor of a mortar and pestle.

When the kale has cooled to room temp, grab half of the greens and squeeze them between your hands to removed excess liquid. The cooked greens will stick together in a log-shaped clump after being squeezed together in your hands. Take that roll of greens and slice it into 1/2 inch wide strips then transfer chopped leaves to a mixing bowl. 
Before dressing your salad, keep in mind that this recipe gives you a VERY generous amount dressing. You may only need to use as little as half the dressing. (Feel free to save the remaining dressing in a lidded container in the fridge for another batch of greens.) We like a ton of dressing on our kale, so we use it all in one go. Toss greens and dressing with your hands to fully coat the leaves with the toasted sesame goodness.

This dish can be served at room temp or slightly chilled. It also travels well.  

Serves 4


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