For the dressing:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon miso paste
A little dashi (vegetable or kombu seaweed stock).
For the vegetables:
1) Choose one vegetable among the ‘white Group’: Potato, Daikon (available in Asian stores), cauliflower…
2) One vegetable among the ‘orange/yellow group’: Carrot, pumpkin, kumara…
3) One vegetable among the ‘green group’: Broccoli, spinach, snow peas, asparagus…
4) Cherry tomatoes to decorate.
To make the dressing grind the toasted sesame seeds with mortar and pestle, then add the miso paste and mix. Slowly add enough dashi (stock, hot or cold) to make a smooth and runny paste. Set aside.
Choose your vegetables, one from each colour group (considering that Japanese food must also be beautiful to look at), and cut into pretty slices. Boil the potatoes, kumara and daikon, but just steam or blanch all other vegetables, as they still need to be crunchy and colourful. Arrange the vegetables in individual bowls as nicely as you can (for example, one small potato, two carrot slices, and 3 snow peas) and drizzle over the dressing. Decorate with a cherry tomato and serve, cold or lukewarm.
It is important to boil or steam the vegetables separately, or they will all taste the same. The leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Make this salad into a main by adding a square of Japanese soft tofu (the type that can be eaten row).
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©