Makes 4 servings.
1 pound spinach, cleaned and trimmed of stems
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons tahini (be sure to stir the jar contents)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ to 1 teaspoon water
Bring a large 4-quart pot of water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Have a large bowl of iced water ready near your workspace. Submerge the spinach in the boiling water and blanch until it all wilts, approximately 20 seconds. Using a Chinese strainer, remove the spinach and submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking. The spinach should cool in a few minutes. Take it out of the water and drain. Squeeze the water
out by pressing in a colander, repeatedly turning it and pressing. Lay the spinach on a kitchen towel, roll it into a log and press to remove
the excess water. This can be refrigerated up to a day ahead of time.
Place the spinach on a cutting board and chop it into small pieces. Combine the sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds and toss it with the spinach in a bowl. Set aside.
For the dressing combine the tahini, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar and water in a bowl. Whisk to combine. (This is an intense dressing and should be used lightly.)
Press the spinach into ramekins or shapes, and un-mold each onto a salad plate. Lightly drizzle the sesame dressing over the spinach and garnish with the spicy carrots.
1 pound carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, diced fine
1½ tablespoons peanut or canola oil
3-5 Thai dried chilies, crushed; or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup cilantro leaves, packed and torn
Slice the carrots on the mandolin into long thin ribbons about a 1/8-inch thick. (You can also use a vegetable peeler with a large opening to make the ribbons). Place the carrots in a bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the vinegar, sugar and ginger and stir to combine.
Toss the carrots with the vinegar-sugar mix and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain the marinade and set aside. The carrots still have a bit of a crunch.
Heat a sauté pan on medium, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Toss in the dried chilies (or red pepper flakes) and heat through for 2 minutes.
Pour the oil over the carrots. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and toss well.
Add the cilantro leaves and serve alongside the spinach salad.