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Broccoli Rabe Oshitashi

We grow a small mountain of broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, planting it nearly every week from March until August.  Its primary destination is Cherry Capital Foods, a local food distributor based in Traverse City.  Sara and I are rapini lovers, primarily eating it with oily pasta and sausage.  The recipe below is a change of pace for us, treating it as a cold, though cooked, salad.  Its good and simple and fun to make the sesame sauce. 

Oshitashi is a Japanese salad made from boiled spinach and sesame seeds.  This recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book uses broccoli rabe in place of spinach.  

1 bunch broccoli rabe

½ cup sesame seeds

8 teaspoons soy sauce

2 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine) or ½ tsp raw sugar

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath.  Cut the rapini into 2 inch lengths. Boil until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.  When cool, remove from the water and drain on a kitchen towel.

2. Pour the sesame seeds into a heavy skillet, set over medium-low heat, and toast, stirring often, just until fragrant and golden brown. Immediately transfer to a plate. While the seeds are still warm but not hot, use a mortar and pestle or food processor to crush them into a paste.

3. Add the soy sauce and mirin to the crushed seeds, stir, and taste. Adjust the seasoning with soy sauce and/or mirin if necessary.  If the paste is too thick, thin with a little warm water.

4. To serve, put the drained broccoli rabe in a bowl, and half the sesame sauce, and toss to coat. Pass the rest of the sauce at the table.

(Hessor, Amanda, The Essential New York Times Cook Book, 262)