This recipe used up my whole bag of spinach, and it is super versatile for use with any greens (the mizuna, spinach, and chard this week are all good candidates) and things like green beans, spicy greens, and eggplants that we’ll see later in the year. It is incredibly quick, gets rid of the greens that will so quickly overwhelm our share in the next month, and has a simple elegance if served to guests.
“Gomaae” is Japanese sesame-based sauce that is equal parts sweet, salty, and nutty. It is traditionally served tossed with lightly boiled spinach (hourensou no gomaae). The recipe varies from kitchen to kitchen, but what follows is where I usually start. I had to estimate the measurements — I cook with the “glug” and “splash” measurement and taste frequently. I like this dish a little stronger as well, because I usually serve it with plain rice.
3-4 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (toast them in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring regularly, or by them pre-toasted in the Asian section)
1-2 Tbsp mirin, a sweet cooking wine/vinegar
(alternate: 1 Tbsp sake with 1 tsp sugar, or 1 Tbsp rice vinegar with 1 tsp sugar)
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
roughly 1 pound of spinach
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Crush the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle (or with a coffee grinder, gently with a mallet, or with a dowel in a bowl). It doesn’t need to be too thorough. Mix in the mirin and the soysauce. Boil the spinach for just a couple of minutes, then drain, squeezing as much liquid out as possible. Roughly chop the spinach and toss with the gomaae sauce. Serve.
Alternate flavors to try: substitute peanuts for the sesame seeds, or substitute miso paste with a tiny amount of water for the soy sauce.