Monday, February 28, 2011
0 Recipe #247: Seaweed Salad
This salad -- with its many colors, shapes, & textures -- is very eye-catching, and its flavors are equally as bold.
Those of you who love Japanese food and enjoy the umami flavor of seaweed, this recipe's for you. :) And for those of you who have never had seaweed before and are curious to try it, let me just state the following disclaimer: For many Americans, this food is probably an acquired taste. ;) The dressing in this recipe does considerably reduce the fishy taste of the seaweed, but it doesn't mask it completely. And, if you're not used to eating foods like this, it might take a little bit of time to get accustomed to its flavor. (Did that scare you off yet? ;) ) If you like seafood or enjoy eating sushi, chances are you might like seaweed salad. And of course, if you've already tried sushi, then you already know what seaweed tastes like. :)
[Please note: The outer wrapper of a sushi roll is actually a different type and form of seaweed (i.e., dried, pressed -- & sometimes roasted -- sheets of nori seaweed) than than the kind featured in this recipe (i.e., dried strips of wakame seaweed, reconstituted in water). These two types do, in fact, taste quite different from one another. For more info on the types of seaweed most commonly used in Japanese cuisine, please see this link.]
Here are some quick nutrition stats for you: Seaweed is an extremely low-calorie, low-carb food (only 4 calories and 1 gram of carbs per 2 Tbsp.). It's got zero fat and cholesterol, and zero glycemic load. However, it is high in sodium, which, of course, isn't too surprising considering that it floats around in salt water for days on end before it's plucked from the sea. ;) However, in this particular recipe, you'll be soaking the seaweed in warm water and then washing it in 3-4 changes of water before you add it to the salad, which will help somewhat to remove some of the salt content.
The recipe itself is loaded with nutrients: The vegetables, avocado, and miso paste all have excellent health properties.
Anata no kenkō ni kanpai! (あなたの健康に 乾杯!) (To your health! Cheers!)
1 c. dried, precut strips of wakame seaweed, loosely packed
3 c. warm water (for soaking/reconstituting seaweed)
3/4 c. (English) cucumber; peeled, seeded, & sliced (with a peeler) into paper-thin 3"-long strips*
1/2 c. red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, and julienned (1/8" x 1 1/2" slices)**
1/2 c. scallions (about 6 large scallions)
1/3 c. (or more) fresh cilantro, densely packed & roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. wasabi paste (from a tube), or to taste
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper; or to taste
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled & finely mince (about 2 large cloves)
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
Make dressing: In a separate mixing bowl, combine tamari, white wine rice vinegar, lime juice, mirin, wasabi, white pepper, and garlic. Next, stir in the dissolved mixture of honey & miso paste, and whisk until smooth. Gradually incorporate the sesame seed oil into the dressing, whisking the dressing rapidly as you slowly pour a thin stream of the oil into the bowl. Stir in sesame seeds, mix well, and then pour the dressing over the seaweed salad and toss well.
Assemble remaining ingredients: Add tofu and avocado to salad, and gently toss the salad this time around, being careful not to mash these last two ingredients into oblivion. Chill in the fridge (to marinate) for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. Divide into equal portions & serve immediately.
Yield: 4-6 servings.
*Cucumber prep: It's easier to make paper-thin slices by peeling lengthwise strips, rotating around the whole cucumber as you peel until you reach the seeds, than it is to slice it in half first, then scoop out seeds, & peel the cucumber into thin slices. This way, by using the former, recommended method, you can get a better grip on the cucumber while you're peeling it into slivers.
**Effective, time-saving technique for julienning red peppers: The fastest and most efficient way to julienne red pepper is to first slice off the top and bottom of the red pepper, then remove the ribs and seeds, and slice it in half lengthwise. Next, hold each pepper half upright and slice with a quick, repeating downward motions to make thin vertical strips. After some practice, this can be done with great speed.
**Both Whole Foods and Amazon.com both have vegetarian miso paste made without MSG.