Asian Style Warm Potato Salad
Yields: 6 servings6 Peruvian Purples
2 Japanese sweet potatoes (see tips)
2 Yukon potatoes
6 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
6 baby bok choys, quartered lengthwise
4 wood ear mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ounces enoki mushrooms, cut in thirds
4 shiitake mushroom, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup French green Puy lentils
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon tahini
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon ginger paste (see tips)
1 clove pickled garlic (or fresh garlic), finely minced
1 teaspoon plain mustard
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
For the Asian salad dressing: In a bowl, thin the honey, tahini and peanut butter with water and rice vinegar. Add the mustard, ginger paste and soy sauce. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of canola oil and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Add the pickled garlic.
Prepping the lentils: Wash the lentils. Discard any floating lentils or odd-shaped grains. Soak the lentils overnight. Bring 6 fresh cups of water to a boil. Add the lentils, bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the lentils for about 20-25 minutes total. Salt (1 teaspoon) the water half-way through the cooking process and keep stirring every now and then so the lentils don't stick to the bottom. The lentils should be tender but still firm. Drain the lentils, then transfer to an iced bath for about 3 minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and discard all the liquid. Add about 1/3 of the Asian salad dressing. Toss well.
Prepping the bok choy: Blanch the bok choy in about a quart of salted boiling water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer the greens into a cold water bath. Pat dry on a towel. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Set aside.
Steaming the potatoes: Peel the yams and potatoes and dice them into same sized pieces as the Peruvian Purples (for homogenous cooking). It's preferable not to cut them too small as they might fall apart. Fill a pot with cold water until it barely touches the steamer level. It's important to start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly. Place all the potato pieces in the steamer, bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-high. Steam for about 10 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender but still firm. Remove from the steamer. Let them cool a little. Once the yams are cool enough to handle and have "dried" (with no excess water), pan-fry them in a sauté pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. As soon as all sides are slightly golden, transfer to a platter. Add 1/3 of the Asian salad dressing. Toss well.
Assembly time: In the same sauté pan, add another tablespoon of canola oil. Add the garlic; cook until lightly golden. Add the chopped onions, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning. As soon as the onion is golden brown, add the diced shiitake mushrooms. Toss for about 30 seconds and immediately add the wood ear and enoki mushrooms. Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Add the potatoes, bok choy and lentils. Add the remaining salad dressing. Cover and allow the bok choy to get warm.
I used a medley of Peruvian purples (Fingerlings), Yukon, Japanese white sweet potatoes and yams. If you don't have these particular varieties, you can use any other kind of potatoes.
You can find Japanese white sweet potatoes in most Japanese or Korean stores. The skin has a burgundy color and the flesh is much starchier and less sweet than a regular sweet potato. They're perfect for steaming, roasting and stir-frying.
I used bok choy but you can use any other green vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, choy sum, sugar snap peas or broccoli.
You can use fresh garlic instead of the pickled garlic but the garlic flavor will be a lot stronger. You can find pickled garlic in Asian stores.
Fresh Wood Ear Mushrooms.
You can also find shiitake, enoki and wood ear mushrooms in any Asian store. I was surprised to find fresh wood ear mushrooms (I usually use the dried version) at the market today. They're grown locally in Half Moon Bay (CA) and they're sold in 6-ounce packages. They're flavorless but they give an interesting, chewy texture to the dish.
Little reminder on how to make freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger root.
1 cup of lentils will expand to a little more than 2 cups after cooking. French Green Puy lentils were originally grown in Puy, in the mountainous region of France. Their texture is a lot firmer than the other varieties. They hold their shape better and they're often used for salads. You can find Puy lentils in specialty stores, such as Whole Foods.
Lentils are a great source of protein, iron and fiber for a vegetarian diet. Click on the link for more recipes using lentils.Published By: on December 29, 2009.