I went to Shoku-no-eki last week to buy some ume for my ume jam. The fresh summer vegetables looked so delicious, so I couldn’t resist buying a bunch of them too. The zucchini and green beans looked great, but my favorites were the baby corn. They had two sizes: small ones about the same size as the canned baby corn that we can buy in the states, and larger ones that feel a little more substantial. They were great just chopped into bite-sized pieces and blanched. Here’s a summer vegetable salad with seared scallops and wafuu (Japanese style) dressing that I made for dinner that night. I didn’t measure the ingredients for the dressing, so just mix them to your own taste. This salad made a great light summer meal since it was pretty hot that day, and it was great for lunch the next day too.
Summer Vegetable and Scallop Salad:
fresh baby corn
cherry tomatoes, halved
bacon – about 1 ounce for each salad
large sea scallops – 2 for each salad
black sesame seeds
wafuu dressing (recipe follows)
Wash the lettuce and mizuna well. Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces and cut mizuna into 2-inch lengths. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt the water generously. Cut baby corn, broccoli, green beans, and golden zucchini into bite-sized pieces and blanch separately until tender in boiling water. Drain and allow to cool. Cut the bacon into small pieces and saute until crispy. Set aside. Heat the same pan until very hot. Salt the scallops lightly and then cook in the bacon fat until nicely browned on both sides.
To serve, mix together the mizuna and lettuce. Mound the greens in the center of a plate. Scatter a handful of each of the cooked vegetables, tomatoes, and bacon over the top. Spread some slices of avocado into a fan shape and place on top of the salad. Place the scallops on the avocado. Dress with wafuu dressing and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
shiro neri goma – white sesame paste (you can substitute tahini or very finely ground sesame seeds)
whole-grain or dijon mustard
toasted sesame oil
In a suribachi, whisk together neri goma, mustard, honey, and black pepper. Whisk in soy sauce and rice vinegar a little bit at a time. Whisk in sesame oil and vegetable oil a little bit at a time. Do this step slowly to keep the dressing emulsified. Taste and adjust your seasoning by adding more of any of the ingredients.
*I didn’t measure when I made this, so please adjust the proportions to your own taste. If you’re not sure how much to use, start with a pinch of black pepper and half a teaspoon of everything else. You will probably need about a tablespoon of more of vegetable oil. These proportions will probably make just a small amount of dressing, but it is easier to make more than to make less. Making dressing isn’t hard; the secret to making a good dressing is to taste as you go and stop when it tastes good.