Broccolini is one of the vegetables that always makes an appearance in my market basket. I love its sweet, mild flavour and the goodness and crunch it offers in any dish. Better still, it's one of the greens that my Peter is happy to eat on a regular basis. So imagine my joy when chef Yotam Ottolenghi prepared a salad of broccolini (and other greens) with sweet tahini at the literary lunch at Nomad that we attended in Sydney recently. 'If you make this for us at home, I'll eat it,' Peter told me after the first bite. *Happy dance* time!
The recipe is in Ottolenghi's latest book, Plenty More, and is just one of many I have flagged to cook in coming months. I've adapted it slightly to suit our own tastes and also make use of ingredients in my kitchen. For instance, I left out the coriander, as it was the one thing Peter mentioned at the lunch, noting that he felt 'it added nothing good' in terms of flavour to the salad (in fact, he even picked it out of the dish!). I also used smoked garlic and tamari, and adjusted the quantities of the acids (cider vinegar) to the sweet (honey). You will see that I used award-winning Manuka honey from Canberra's own Honey Delight, as I have plentiful stocks of it in my larder, thanks to my beekeeper friends.
Ottolenghi says the recipe is his take on a Japanese favourite, sweet sesame sauce or Goma-dare, and that the combination of the snow peas, beans and broccolini is 'a refreshing blend of textures'. The mixture of the tahini with the soy is interesting and tasty, and the textures are simply delicious.
One hint I'd like to share is that broccolini should be eaten within a few days of picking or purchase, so when you buy it make sure it is indeed snapping fresh and hasn't been sitting immersed in a tub of stale, stinky water. There's nothing worse than biting into greens that taste bitter because they were not so fresh!
BROCCOLINI WITH SNOW PEAS, BEANS AND SWEET TAHINI DRESSING
300g broccolini, leaves trimmed, sliced in half lengthways
120g baby beans, topped and tailed
120g snow peas, topped and tailed
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 clove garlic (or smoked garlic), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon tamari (or soy) sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2-1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
20g coriander leaves, optional
Bring water to the boil in a medium sized pan and add the vegetables. Blanch them for 2-3 minutes, until they are just cooked but still crisp. Drain them into a colander and rinse well under cold water. Pat the vegetables dry with paper towelling and arrange them on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the peanut oil.
Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a small jug (adding the water a little a time) and whisk until the dressing is smooth (and pourable) and has the consistency of thick honey. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and sprinkle with the sesame seeds before serving. This quantity will serve 4.
Tell me dear readers, do you enjoy broccolini? What other ingredients go into your shopping basket regularly?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.