The first of many from our very own Man in Apron, this salad matches some beautiful Japanese flavours with a healthy trio of vegetables, and is equally delicious served warm immediately after preparing, or cold as part of a packed lunch or picnic.
Serves 4-6 (at least!)
- vegetable oil or olive oil for cooking – 3-4 tablespoons
- cracked black pepper
- sea salt
- regular soy sauce (not dark/light etc.) – three tablespoons
- hon/”true” mirin* – three tablespoons , but may be increased to four depending on your taste
- 1kg sweet potato – peeled, cubed (approx. 4-5cm)
- 3 bunches of broccolini – trimmed on the bottom, then each bunch chopped in half
- 300-400g baby spinach leaves – washed
- Japanese mayonnaise* – 4 tablespoons
- Roasted sesame seed sauce* – 10 tablespoons
- Cracked black pepper to taste
- Sea salt to taste
( *Ingredients readily available at any Asian grocer; ‘Kewpie’ brand highly recommended. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and sweeter flavour.)
- Preheat oven to 200C; toss sweet potato in a little oil on a baking tray/dish that is large enough to take all the pieces in a single layer. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper, and roast for around 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. You want them cooked through but still reasonably firm to the bite.
- Sauté the broccolini using the vegetable or olive oil along with the soy sauce and mirin. You want the pieces cooked but just barely; they should retain a fair bit of crunch. Remove from heat as soon as this is achieved.
- While still in the pot, cover the broccolini pieces with the spinach leaves, and then with the cooked sweet potato pieces. Allow a minute or two for the spinach leaves to wilt. Combine the mayo and roasted sesame seed sauce, and fold into the vegetables.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.