sugar snap, tatsoi + zucchini rice bowl with sesame oil dressing


tatsoi? shiso? never heard of 'em.  that was until i began reading deborah madson's Vegetable Literacy.  before reading (most of) this book/cookbook, i considered myself quite vegetable literate.  but as i began reading i realized how veggie illiterate i was.  most times at the nursery i am able to tell herbs and various vegetables apart by their leaves, or just by being familiar with them over the years.  but deborah's book has really opened my eyes to some amazing lesser known veggies and plants that can be found right at your local farmers' market or whole foods.  beginning at the start of spring i remember seeing tatsoi flowers, and then in the last few weeks, tatsoi greens.  i'm not going to lie, the name intimidated me because i had no idea what they were or where they came from.  after reading the cabbage section in Vegetable Literacy, i learned that tatsoi, a leafy green, is part of the cabbage family, among its family members are: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, just to name a few.  moving on to perilla, or shiso.  shiso, which i had never used, nor seen before, had the most vibrant aroma with herby notes, as well as hints of citrus.  crush it, or chop it, and the fragrance becomes even more intense and peppery.  it was fun broadening my vegetable vocabulary and cooking with ingredients that were out of my comfort zone!

 


i understand that tatsoi and shiso are hard to find in all parts of the country and world.  so here are a few substitutes.  for the tatsoi: kale, swiss chard, collard greens (if planning on using kale or collards, i would wilt them slightly before eating) .  for the shiso: i would say that basil would make a good substitute, especially if you can get your hands on thai basil, or one that's more peppery and spicy.  and the black rice can be substituted with whichever rice you prefer.  

 

sugar snap, tatsoi + zucchini rice bowl with sesame oil dressing

| 4 healthy servings

ingredients

1 cup black rice

 2 handfuls sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 bunch tatsoi (scant 2 cups), stems trimmed

1 small zucchini, washed and sliced thin

1 shallot, roughly chopped

1/3 cup raw cashews, toasted

1 bunch shiso (about 20 leaves), julienned

1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

fine grain sea salt, to taste   

sesame oil dressing

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon low sodium tamari (gluten and wheat free)

10 shiso leaves, ground (optional) 

fine grain sea salt to taste

 

 

instructions

make the rice

  • rinse and drain the rice
  • combine the rice with 2 1/2 cups of water
  • bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low - making sure the water is simmering.  cook for about 20-25 minutes depending on your stove
  • set aside

make the dressing

  • in a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar with the salt, and tamari.  taste as you go along, adjusting the seasoning to your preference
  • add the sesame oil, whisk vigorously until the ingredients are combined
  • using a mortar and pestle, grind about 10 shiso leaves until they are bruised and fragrant.  combine with the dressing
  • refrigerate until ready to use

make the vegetables

  • pre heat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with tin foil 
  • using a pastry brush, apply a small amount of oil to each side of the sliced zucchini, and arrange on the baking sheet without overlapping
  • bake for about 15 minutes; until the edges are slightly browned
  • let cool 
  • in a skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat.  cook the shallots until soft - about 3 minutes.  add the snap peas, season with salt, and cook for an additional 7 minutes
  • remove from heat

assemble

  • in a large bowl, spoon in the black rice, season with salt - a pinch at a time 
  • top with tatsoi, sauteed snap peas and shallots, zucchini, and toasted cashews
  • a little at a time, drizzle with the sesame dressing, tasting along the way (i had some dressing leftover)
  • lastly, garnish with julienned shiso leaves and give it a toss or two

enjoy!