Sesame Street

A Japanese salad via San Francisco

Not to be confused with tahini, its creamy Middle Eastern cousin, the freshly ground sesame paste chef Greg Dunmore creates at San Francisco's new Nojo restaurant is of a toastier variety. Dunmore, who learned how to make the mixture while living in Japan, uses a combination of toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil and rice vinegar as the base for a nutty, gingery dressing. Tossed with tofu, snow peas and tiny shimeji mushrooms, it creates a healthy, vibrant salad that–if you share our tastes–you won't be able to get enough of.

Recipe adapted from Greg Dunmore, Nojo, San Francisco

Tofu, Shimeji And Snow Pea Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing
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San Francisco chef Greg Dunmore's tofu salad with toasted-sesame dressing.
Servings
4
to 6 main-course servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 1 cup toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1½-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dashi broth (available at Japanese markets), divided
  • 4 cups snow peas, stems removed
  • 3 cups shimeji mushrooms (aka beech mushrooms), spongy base discarded and stems separated (can substitute thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms)
  • 10 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces
Directions
  1. Make the dressing: In a food processor or blender, process 1 cup of the sesame seeds with the sesame oil at high speed until smooth. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the dashi. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the snow peas until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels, blot dry and let cool completely.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining ½ cup dashi over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the snow peas, mushrooms and tofu. Add ¾ cup of the sesame dressing and toss to coat. Divide among four bowls and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Serve the extra dressing on the side.
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