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DSC_0020-11Photo by Anna Waigand

Inspired by a sunny street-side market and the serving style of galbi and samgyeopsal, I decided to make a salad eaten as a lettuce wrap. For those of you who haven’t had galbi in Korea, you grill meat at your table. The most common way to eat it is to make a sort of mini-taco with lettuce like a tortilla and adding any number of toppings from the side dishes around the grill.

This salad has lots of big pieces, which makes it hard to cut up with a fork and eat. If you’re really opposed to eating a salad with your hands I guess you could dice all the ingredients and eat it with a fork, but that would be much less messy and so much less enjoyable, in my opinion.

DSC_0013-9Photo by Anna Waigand

Ingredients
Serves 2

1 medium mackerel or one can mackerel
A dozen leaves of interesting looking lettuce
1 tomato
1 green onion
2 in. ginger, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

1. We made this salad by cooking up a whole fish, which turned out to be a big hassle. It was only beheaded for us, not gutted, and the bones were as thin and plentiful as hairs. Not sure what fish we got, but we’d recommend mackerel instead. Or, for a much easier route, just get a can of mackerel. Either way, put the fish in a hot, oiled pan with half the ginger. Saute until cooked or hot.
2. Mix half the ginger with the lemon juice, olive oil, and green onion. Salt and pepper to taste. These are guessed proportions and mine took a lot of finagling, but this should get you started.
3. Slice the tomato into large circles.
4. Arrange the lettuce in a circle on each plate. Place a slice of tomato on top of each piece of lettuce. Put a small squirt of olive oil, a pinch of coarse salt, and a dash of pepper on each tomato.
5. Shred the fish if it’s whole, otherwise pile it in the center of the lettuce. Drizzle the dressing over everything. To eat, pick up a piece of lettuce and fold it into a U. Pile some fish on top of the tomato. You can eat it in two bites if you feel you aren’t up to the challenge, but the juicy, salty flavor is best enjoyed with a full mouth.

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Another angle of the plated salad
Photo by Anna Waigand

I’ve just started this whole “writing down what I cook” thing in an effort to share it with you all, but I think my first try has turned out really well. It’s a hot and cold salad made with Korean chives, bean sprouts and enokitake mushrooms. The chives form a chilled base but are covered in a spicy sauce. The chives are then covered with a hot pile of bean sprouts and mushrooms with a cool and tangy vinegar sauce.

scaled.DSC_0915_ps01
Photo by Anna Waigand

The trick to the recipe is getting the spice right on the chives and keeping the beans and mushroom mixture hot enough until you eat it. The chives can easily get seriously spicy, and the topping cools quickly when on top of the chives.

Korean chives are halfway between chives in the US and green onions. If you can’t find Korean or Chinese chives where you are, go with green onions.

Hot and Cold Korean salad
Serves 2
Ingredients:
Chives:
8 Korean chives cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 red chili, seed and finely sliced
1 tbl sesame oil
1 tsp Korean chili powder
A dash of soy sauce
A dash of salt

Bean sprouts and mushrooms:
1 handfuls bean sprouts
1 handful enokitake mushrooms
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 strong cider vinegar
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt

1. The chives need to thoroughly chill, so if you are making this to accompany a dinner, prepare the chives before anything else. Wash the chives and cut them into two inch pieces. Set aside.

2. In a bowl combine the garlic, sesame oil, chili power, soy sauce and salt. Mix.

3. Combine the chives and sauce and put them, covered, in the back of the fridge.

4. Chop the red chili in half and cut off the small end. Wash water through the chili and roll it between your fingers to get all the seeds out. Slice the chili into thin slices. Set aside.

5. For the bean sprout and mushroom sauce, in a bowl combine the sesame oil, cider vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic and salt.

6. Wash the bean sprouts and break off any brown ends. Cut the mushrooms off about an inch above the base and wash.

7. When you are nearly ready to serve your meal, steam or boil the bean sprouts for 3 minutes. Then add a dash of sesame oil to a pan and lightly cook the mushrooms and bean sprouts on medium heat for 1 minute.

8. Arrange the chives in a single layer square. Toss the mushrooms and bean spouts with their sauce and then pile them on top of the chives. Garnish with the red chili slices. Serve and eat immediately.

Anna plating the salad
Photo by Andre Francisco

The recipe takes about 20 minutes to make, but you should start cooling the chives before that. I plan to keep trying versions of this recipe, and I’ll let you know if anything great arrises out of that. As this is an early attempt at recipe making for me I’d love to hear your feedback. What ingredients are hard to find in the US, additions or subtractions you found have worked or ways to tweak the cooking technique. Enjoy!

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