We were making Japanese-style braised veggies for lunch (p.132 in the Z.R.C. if you’re wondering) and I needed a salad to match. There were lots of pears in the store-room, and pondered if a dressing made with some yuzu zest might just do the trick?
If you haven’t come across it before, yuzu is a citrus fruit prized for its aroma that lingers somewhere between lemon, tangerine, and grapefruit flavors. Luckily we had some hanging about the kitchen, and to add a nice spicy twist, a finger of fresh horseradish left over from Christmas. Lovely.
However, you may need to rely on a few substitutions for this recipe if you can’t find all the ingredients at hand. Instead of yuzu, lemon zest will work for that hint of aromatic freshness; if the horseradish season is over, try a squish of wasabi paste from a tube or a teaspoon of prepared horseradish from a jar. And to substitute both the sake and mirin, which might be hard to get too, use 2 tablespoons of dry sherry or fortified white wine and sweeten with a teaspoon of sugar.
½ teaspoon lemon zest, or even better, yuzu zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cm (2 inch) length fresh horseradish (or a squish of wasabi paste to taste)
1 tablespoon sake (rice wine)
1 tablespoon mirin (sweetened rice wine)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 medium pears
75 g rocket leaves (arugula) or baby leaf spinach
- Grate the zest from the lemon if using, and press the juice.
- Peel and grate the fresh horseradish with a fine microplane grater.
- Combine the lemon, zest, and horseradish with the sake, mirin, soy sauce and salt in a salad bowl. Season to suit your taste.
- Cut the pears into quarters lengthwise, trim out the core and cut into diagonal slices.
- To prevent browning, toss the pears through the dressing immediately.
- Just before serving, combine the pears with the rocket or spinach leaves.