A constant thought, in these days. I hope Japan will be able to recover soon. And we will be thinking about its fabulous food, cinema, literature, design, technological innovations again, when we think of Japan.
Hourensou no gomaae (Spinach with sesame sauce)
Ingredients: (serves two)
two big bunch of spinach (about 300 grams)
equipment: a sushi mat
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
2-3 teaspoon tamari
1/2 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoon sugar
Method: Remove the roots from the spinach but keep all the stalk, and keep them in bundle form as much as possible. Wash in cold water until no grit is left. Bring a wide pan of water to the boil, drop in the spinach, blanch for about a minute and drain. Cool under cold, running water. Squeeze gently with your hand. Have a sushi mat ready. Arrange the spinach neatly on it, with all the stalks on one side. Fold the tips so that the ends will be more even. Roll the sushi mat, press gently with your fingers to get a squarish log. Press well and leave for a while slightly inclined so that the water can run away. When water is no longer dripping off it, put the roll within its sushi mat in the fridge until needed.
For the sauce: if not toasted, toast your sesame seeds: heat a small heavy pan, add the sesame seeds and gently roll the pan until they start to pop. Take care because at this stage they go from toasted to burned in a second.
Put the toasted sesame seeds in a mortar and crush them with a circular movement. Add sugar and crush a bit more; add mirin and soy sauce; taste and adjust the flavours to your liking. It should be definitely sweet, definitely salty and very flavorful. To serve, arrange some sauce on a small dish, cut the spinach log using a sharp knife in two – three pieces, discarding the extremities if they are not neat, and arrange on top of the sauce.