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Japanese Spinach with Sesame and Soy

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

In Japan, this simple dish is often served cold. Try it as a first-course salad or as a side for salmon. Grinding the sesame seeds for the dressing brings out their nutty flavor and toasty aroma.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. baby spinach (about 16 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 4-1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil

Bring an 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Add the spinach to the pot, pressing it into the water with a slotted spoon, and cook for 20 seconds. Remove with the spoon and plunge into the ice water. Transfer the spinach to a colander, spreading it out to drain. Using a clean, folded dishtowel, press down on the spinach to remove as much water as possible. Toss the spinach, spread it out, and press it again if necessary, using a fresh towel. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, spread the spinach on top, cover with paper towels, and chill for 30 minutes

Using a spice grinder, grind 2 Tbs. of the sesame seeds with 1/2 tsp. of the sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp. sugar with the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir in the ground sesame seeds.

Add the chilled spinach and gently toss it with your hands, separating any clumps. Serve sprinkled with the remaining sesame seeds.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 60; Fat (g): fat g 3; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 0; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 6; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 760; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Simple, nutritious, easy-- and delicious! The toasty nutty sesame dressing with just a tiny hint of sweet is perfect over the spinach. I think I ate the whole recipe's worth of spinach myself-- I can practically feel my muscles bulging!

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