Helm’s Eurasian Salad

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Craving a home salad after too many days on the road, I created this atop a picnic cooler in my motel room. The dressing evolved from a crate of  mixed condiments and out came a unique European—Asian dressing with a sublime balance. It’s been a repeat for over 25 years! Also serve as a light sauce on cooked or raw veggies.

— Recipe by B. Hettig

Serves 4

DRESSING:

garlic, fresh, 1-1/2 tsp, (2 cloves), mash & mince

olive oil, 1/4 cup, quality counts

rice vinegar, 2 TBS

soy sauce, 1-1/2 tsp

ginger juice, 1-1/2 tsp, from freshly grated ginger root

SALAD:

Greens: Use 4 or so cups of one or more types: romaine, bibb, red leaf

onion, sweet, 1/4 cup, thin half-moon cuts

carrot, 1 cup, finely grated

daikon radish, 1/2 cup, finely grated

GARNISH:

sesame seeds,* 1 TBS, toasted

*Toasted sesame seeds are a cook’s pixie dust; a great seasoning with little fuss. Preheat a heavy skillet on medium heat. Add a quarter cup of raw sesame seeds and stir continuously until the seeds begin to smoke lightly and become fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

BONUS: To gild the lily, make sesame salt, also known as gomasio. To the 1/4 cup of sesame seeds add one teaspoon of sea salt. After toasting the seeds, lightly grind the blend so you have some whole seeds remaining. I love to use a mortar and pestle to hand grind.

SALAD TOPPINGS # 2: Try sliced scallions or chives, raw mushrooms, cucumber and daikon radish.

1 Wash greens and spin dry. Chill greens.

2 Shred the carrots and radish. Slice the onion into razor thin quarter-rounds.

3 Make the dressing.

4 Just before serving tear the greens. Add a tablespoon or so of dressing and mix thoroughly—hands work perfectly! Look for a light sheen of oil on the lettuce leaves. Add the vegetables artfully onto the greens. Drizzle another tablespoon of dressing. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

5 Serve on individual plates using tongs to grab a section of salad keeping the vegetables and greens in place. Drop gently onto a salad plate and serve. This is the secret to serving a salad. If you toss the vegetables and the greens together, the heavier pieces fall to the bottom and you lose the beauty of your composition.

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