Rapini and Sea Vegetable Salad

For some, salad could be considered a misnomer since this is a warm blend of foods, cooked crispy in keeping with the winter season.  According to both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medecine, winter is a season in which raw foods should be avoided.  Everyone agrees however that vegetables should occupy a central portion of the plate and this “salad” lets a hefty helping of greens and mineral-rich sea vegetables shine.  The savory Asian-inspired dressing and a bit of grated apple also cuts the characteristic bitterness of the Rapini (Brocoli-Rabe), making for a bitter-salty-sweet fusion that’s hard to resist.

Yield: 3 baby servings or 1 as a main course

What you need:

  • 4 cups finely sliced (think chiffonade) rapini, florets left whole
  • 1/2 cup dried arame seaweed
  • 1 cup julienned carrot
  • 1 cup sliced leek (half the leek and then slice)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tablespoon dulse seaweed
  • 1/2″ slice of ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sweet brown rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons flax oil
  • a tiny pinch of Chinese 5-spice powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted seeds (sesame, sunflower, flax, amaranth or a mix of them), plus a bit more for garnish
  • freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • cooked rice, to serve

What you do:

  1. Place the arame seaweed in a small bowl or cup and cover with warm water.  Let sit 10 minutes or so, until rehydrated, and then drain – reserving the liquid for stock.
  2. Grate the ginger and apple into a mixing bowl, sprinkling and mixing it with the sweet brown rice vinegar.  Thinly slice or crumble the dulse and add it to the ginger-apple and stir again.  Add the Chinese 5-spice powder if using and freshly ground white pepper.  Mix again.               IMG_0602
  3. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat.  Let it get good and hot.  When hot, add the leek and dry-fry, stirring often, until the leek starts to brown.  Cover the pan tightly between stirs to keep the humidity in.
  4. Add the seaweed, carrot and rapini to the pan and continue to stir and fry, covering between stirs, until the rapini and carrot are cooked but still very bright.  If the vegetables start sticking, add a couple of teaspoons of water or of the arame-soaking-stock to the pan.
  5. When ready, immediately transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the ginger-apple and dressing.  Stir to mix all ingredients together well.  Add the tablespoon of toasted seeds and toss again.  Let the salad come to room temperature and then add the flax oil, stirring once more.               IMG_0605
  6. To serve, place some cooked rice in a bowl, add some salad and artfully garnish with a few toasted seeds.

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