Inspired by the delicious Chilled Sesame Spinach that we used to enjoy at Izakaya on Front Street, before it closed five years ago, this was one of the popular dishes that kept regulars coming back time after time. A quick and easy recipe that brings together the tangy flavours of soy sauce and rice vinegar along with nutty sesame seeds and vibrant steamed spinach, this chilled dish is highly nutritious, low-fat and extremely rich in antioxidant. At only 150 calories per serving, this elegant chilled salad makes a healthy, tasty and refreshing addition to any Asian-inspired summer menu.
Chilled Sesame Spinach
2 lb spinach stems trimmed, washed
1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp mirin rice wine
3 tbsp sesame seeds
Prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately in a colander and then plunge into the prepared ice bath. Let the spinach cool completely, about 30 seconds and drain again. Using your hands, squeeze the excess water out of the spinach, and transfer to a work surface. Coarsely chop the spinach, and place in a medium bowl then set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin. Add the dressing and sesame seeds to the spinach and mix to combine. The spinach may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.