Pork-Shabu Salad with Yuzu Dressing

28Sep09

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The photo above shows a cluster of yuzu next to a mandarin orange (mikan). Maybe you can see that the yuzu has a lighter color and is bumpier than the mandarin orange. These yuzu are small because they grew in my friend’s back yard, but commercially grown ones can get to almost the size of a mandarin orange.

Good Food from a Japanese Temple by Soei Yoneda says this about yuzu: “The delightful fragrance of the [yuzu] peel is like that of no other citrus fruit. It would lend itself well to many uses in Western cooking. Lemon or lime peel or zest will substitute, though neither is similar.”

It’s no surprise then, to find that the role of yuzu in traditional Japanese cuisine is to pleasure the sense of smell. And since it is, after all, a delicate fragrance, yuzu peel is often added as a garnish to soup just before the lid is placed over the bowl. Then when the diner removes the lid, he/she is greeted by a puff of this most exquisite of fragrances. I used this fragrant citrus fruit in a dressing for a pork and greens salad.

Ingredients:

Pork (not too lean) sliced as for shabu-shabu (ie: sliced very very thin while half-frozen) 1/2 pound
Boiling dashi stock (bottled soba dipping sauce added to boiling water is fine)

extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup
fresh green shiso leaves, 20 leaves torn into pieces
fresh garlic, one large clove crushed and skin removed
fresh yuzu fruit, one (grate all the zest off, then cut the fruit in half and squeeze out any juice)
salt and pepper to taste

mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried

Put the oil, shiso leaves, garlic, yuzu zest, and yuzu juice in a blender and blend till smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing into a small bowl or jar.

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Place 1/3 to 1/2 of the pork slices into the boiling stock and swish around till the color has changed and there’s no pink left (usually takes a minute or less). Remove from stock and drain. When the stock comes back to a boil, cook the next batch of pork. When the pork has all been cooked and drained, set aside.

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Pour 1/2 cup of the shiso-yuzu dressing over the cooked pork and toss to coat. Spread the salad greens on a plate or bowl; place coated pork on top; add a few colorful vegetables if you have any; drizzle a little more of the shiso-yuzu dressing over the top; Serve. I added some slices of pink pickled turnip slices to my salad for a little different flavor and color. Of course you can use thinly-sliced chicken, beef, lamb or just about any other fresh meat instead of pork in this recipe.

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