Friday, December 12, 2008

The Homework Salads



Last week I asked readers to follow in the footsteps of my radicchio and napa cabbage pairing, using something out of the ordinary in a salad of their own. The clear winners were Seth D. Michaels and Sean Mcleod, because their creations fit the bill, and because they were the only ones to respond.

The god-awful photo above was taken with Seth D.'s cell phone camera, and I have included it not because I like it, but because I want to publicly humiliate him by making his lack of skill known. Hopefully this will shame him into taking a better picture for future submissions. Regardless, here is his unusual salad:

I cut up garlic and onions, and cooked both in sesame oil. I then cut a slightly-smaller-than-fist-sized block of tofu into squares, and fried it in the oil I already had going. While it was frying, I tossed in some crushed red pepper.

I fried it kind of hard on both sides. At some point, I threw in a few sesame seeds. At the stage depicted in the photo, I added a little soy sauce and rice vinegar, then a handful of spinach and green onion. Finally, I added about half a cup of noodles, which I tossed around with a little more soy sauce. Once plated, I put basil leaves atop the whole thing.

The spinach shrunk more than I thought it would, making it less salad-y and more stir-fry-y. In the end it looked like the attached photo, but less blurry.


I'd say the most unusual thing about this salad is that it wasn't a salad, but it does sound good. Here's Mcleod's take:

Salad is one of those things that I always think that I want to eat more of, though I usually end up cooking a vegetable instead. I buy romaine or arugula every week, and I only think to make salad when I peer into the vegetable drawer and say to myself, "Better use that while it's still good."

Last night's dinner included a spinach salad from a bag of still-edible baby spinach along with a head of endive, cold roasted beets unused from Thanksgiving, and hakurei turnips thinly sliced (also bought for Thxgiving).

The secret ingredient was pomegranate seeds, which were like beautiful jewels mixed into the greens. Served a simple dijon vinaigrette, I put out one of the simplest dinners I've done on a Sunday in a long time: rotisserie chicken, microwaved spaghetti squash (dressed with the same vinaigrette), and the aforementioned salad.


The most striking component of this salad is the harukei turnip, which neither I nor google image search have heard of.

Thanks to all those (two) who contributed, and happy weird salads to everyone else.

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4 comments:

Sean McLeod said...

Yikes! What an honor I think, and boy am I glad I didn't use my cell phone to take a picture because I am also technologically deficient in that regard (unless I'm outdoors).

BTW your not finding the turnips using google search had me in a minor panic because when I wrote the recipe I wasn't sure if they were called hakurei or hakurai turnips. For a couple years I mistakenly called them "hakurai" until a Japanese woman at my market corrected me and told me that they're called "hakurei."

You simply misspelled your google search term because I found plenty of images and noted that most showed the turnips greens still attached, which is how I always buy them so that I can cook the greens separately. My favorite way to eat hakurei turnips is pan sauteed or oven roasted, though I've recently started to enjoy eating them raw as well.

Jay said...

Ha, eat that Seth D...No wait, that could be misinterpreted in this forum. Let me start over.

Ha, you stink Seth D. Your picture stinks as much as your "salad." Next time, don't cook while you're wasted, and don't write about it until you've sobered up.

Thanks Aaron, for showing us the true Seth D.

Seth D. said...

Jay,

I resent these scurrilous attacks on my character. This is supposed to be a campaign about the ISSUES. The question is, is my not-technically-a-salad delicious? And the answer is yes.

Would it have been a salad if I had left the spinach raw and the noodles cold? The answer is yes, and also "Stop living in the past."

Will I make this dish in the future, for my girlfriend, who will be impressed? Yes. That's food you can believe in.

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