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Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad

May 5, 2011

March into April is always a rough period for me in the kitchen. Inspiration is hard to come by, and every cold/wet/gray day that passes adds to my frustration at how slow full-blown spring is to arrive. I stare despondently at my crisper drawer, trying to ignore the root vegetables that have been in there forever and are starting to look long in the tooth.

The Ithaca Farmer’s Market begins its season in April, but with this year’s loooooooooong winter and seemingly endless spring rains, we’re only just starting to see some greens. Peas, strawberries, and asparagus still seem like a long way away to me, even though I know I’ll see them in another month or so.

And even though it’s been rain central around here, the slightly warmer temperatures and occasional peek of sun (how I live for those moments!) has kick-started my craving for things that are crisp, green, and fresh. In other words, if I see another bowl of stew I think I’ll lose it.

So when Dana tweeted about a recipe for a Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad she recently posted, I made sure my next trip to the grocery store included the snap peas and broccoli to make it (I love you local produce, but I just can’t hold out any longer.) Luckily for me at our market this past weekend, I was able to find some lovely spinach at Stick and Stone Farm, as well as some French Breakfast Radishes from Red Tail Farm. Along with some eggs from our meat share, I knew I had the makings of exactly the kind of lunch I was craving.

This salad comes together in a snap, and the tahini/sesame dressing is so good I plan to keep it on hand to dress other salads this spring and summer. Dana adapted the recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, which looks like a gorgeous book full of the kinds of food I want to fill myself up with right now. I’m sure the salad is knockout in its original form (with broccoli, snap peas, string beans, and dressing) but I really enjoyed it dressed up with some sliced finger-thin radishes and chopped hard-boiled egg.


Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad

Adapted from Dana Treat, who adapted it from Plenty


1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets
½ pound snap peas, strings removed
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 tbsp. sesame seeds (I, like Dana, used gomasio)

accompaniments like torn spinach leaves, chopped hard-boiled egg, sliced radishes

4 tbsp. tahini paste
¼ cup water
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp. tamari
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. hazelnut or other nut oil [note: I used peanut oil]

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. You’re looking for a smooth, thick, pourable consistency — add more water if needed (I had to add a little to make it pourable.) Taste and add salt and pepper according to your taste. Set aside and refrigerate as you assemble the salad.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the broccoli and snap peas for 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water, or shock in a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. Pat dry with towels.

Divide the spinach among serving plates, and top with the broccoli and snap peas. Sprinkle with the cilantro and gomasio/sesame seeds (and chopped egg and radishes, if using.) Drizzle with the dressing and serve. You may have more dressing than needed, so just refrigerate any leftovers.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. thesavvystudent permalink
    May 5, 2011 6:14 pm

    Yum! The colours are so pretty! And I hear ya about the never-ending winter that has occurred this year. Thankfully its over and we can enjoy the greens again!

    (…although somehow Spring still doesn’t stop me from making winter comfort foods)

  2. May 5, 2011 10:46 pm

    What wonderful additions Amy! Why don’t I use eggs more in my salads? I love them and I just forget to use them. Our winter has been brutal as well and spring certainly hasn’t started yet. Our markets are bleak and I am just waiting for radishes, asparagus, artichokes, and all the other lovely things that will someday, SOMEDAY, make an appearance in our markets. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  3. May 6, 2011 12:10 pm

    Yum. The combo of flavors here sounds fantastic! My local farmers’ market heads back outside tomorrow and while I’m excited to go, I know that the limited amounts of things that we can get this time of year will be a bit of a disapointment. I don’t know about you all, but we had some late frosts which has thrown everything off. I’m hoping we’ll have a bountiful summer as a counterpoint.

  4. Emily permalink
    May 7, 2011 10:37 pm

    Holy moly does this sound good! Read the post tonight, and then made sure to buy some broccoli and tahini on my late-night trip to Wegmans! Can’t wait to give it a try…

  5. May 12, 2011 8:47 pm

    This does look very good! And the salad ingredients are fairly straight forward as well…

  6. May 16, 2011 12:42 am

    While I am not a broccoli fan, this does look very nice.

  7. May 17, 2011 10:26 am

    Beautiful salad! It’s rainy and cold here today too (NYC) – but this bright salad is making me think spring. Thanks for sharing!

  8. May 19, 2011 3:35 pm

    I make something similar to this, but with a poached egg on top so the runny yolk gets into the greens. Delicious!

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