April 19, 2011

kabocha salad with sesame dressing

Although I love all winter squashes, as a native of Hokkaido, I must admit that I am very partial to Kabocha squash, which originated in the northern island of Japan. I remember my grandparents would send us a case of this variety of squash at the height of its season. We would enjoy the sweet and nutty flavored Kabocha in so many ways:  simply steamed with a pinch of salt, deep-fried in tempura batter, made into croquettes, puréed to make chowder, blended into puddings…. Here’s another simple but tasty way to prepare it. Delicious even cold, this salad was one of the popular items at the deli.

Ingredients


Half of kabocha squash, seeds scooped out and cut into bite sized pieces
2 stalks celery, minced

1/4 cup of sesame dressing (recipe below)

Parsley
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions
  1. Place the kabocha in a steamer, sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt and steam for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft. 
  2. Blanch the minced celery quickly. Drain. 
  3. Toss the steamed kabocha, celery and sesame dressing together.
  4. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped parsley. Serve.


Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup sesame seeds (toasted)
1 tsp ume vinegar
1 tsp ume paste
1 TBS sweet white miso
3/4 cup water

Place everything in a blender and blend until the consistency is smooth. This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

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