Recently I have been leafing through my old recipe notebook I had used for long years before the existence of this blog. I was surprised – and even shocked – to see so many fantastic but forgotten recipes. This simple salad of Asian inspiration is one of the many dishes I regret not having made for such a long time. I have no idea when and where I found this recipe, but I remember I used to prepare it already ten years ago. At the time raw spinach leaves were a completely novelty to me and most people I knew, not to mention toasted sesame seeds or the presence of soy sauce in the vinaigrette. All this made such a salad appear utterly exotic. Nowadays, raw young spinach leaves seem as natural as a lettuce, while sesame seeds and soy sauce have become a staple in my kitchen, but I’m glad I dug out this old recipe because I still enjoy the mixture of flavours as much as I did ten years ago.
When I prepared this salad ten years ago I certainly didn’t have rice vinegar or sesame oil, but since now I use both products regularly, I wanted to see if they would improve the taste. And they did. If you don’t have either of them, use any oil you like and any vinegar you have.
It is very important to toast the sesame seeds just before sprinkling them onto spinach leaves. It improves the flavours greatly and adds a lovely toasted aroma “old” toasted seeds no longer give.
The ratio of the vinaigrette’s ingredients is the one I prefer. Taste it and adjust to your own preferences (obviously, if using normal soy sauce, you might prefer to use a smaller amount).
Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
2 big handfuls of young (baby) spinach leaves
1 tablespoon (or more) white sesame seeds (not toasted)
low sodium soy sauce+sesame oil+rice vinegar in 1:1:1 ratio
freshly ground black pepper
Wash and dry the spinach leaves.
Place the sesame seeds at the bottom of a clean pan.
Warm the pan at low heat and when the seeds start to pop, cover the pan, wait ten more seconds and put aside.
Place the spinach leaves in a big bowl.
Pour the vinaigrette on them and stir delicately, coating all the leaves.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
Sprinkle with freshly toasted sesame seeds and serve.