Mixing it up with easy ‘hot salads’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Steamed chicken and spring bean salad, front, and grilled zucchini and radish salad with eggs

The season of delicious green vegetables has arrived. As a way to consume plenty of greens but still break away from the norm, cooking expert Hitomi Tsutsumi recommends simple recipes for heating vegetables to make “hot salads.”

“They can be enjoyed as a nice light side dish,” said Tsutsumi.

The key is to use enough oil while the vegetables are being heated. That way, the vegetables do not dry out or become too soft, and the umami flavor is enhanced.

Tsutsumi first prepared a steamed chicken and spring bean hot salad, a filling dish that uses plenty of seasonal beans.

It is recommended to mix several kinds of beans together to obtain a variety of colors, flavors and textures. The olive oil will coat the beans, giving them a nice, crunchy texture. A sweet and sour dressing goes well with the sweetness of the beans and the umami of the chicken.

Chicken and spring bean salad

  • Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 200 grams chicken breast
  • 15 soramame broad bean pods
  • 6 snap peas
  • 8 string beans
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard

  • Directions:
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Drizzle chicken and beans with olive oil before heating.
  • 1. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and season with ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Remove the broad beans from their pods and peel them. Trim off the ends of the snap peas and cut them in half at an angle. Cut the string beans into thirds.
  • 2. Put all the beans in a frying pan and lay the pieces of chicken on top. Crush the garlic and add it to the pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of white wine over the ingredients.
  • 3. Cover the pan and place it over medium-high heat. When steam rises, lower the heat to medium and steam for 6-7 minutes until the beans are soft.
  • 4. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey and mustard in a bowl to make the dressing. Place the salad on a plate and pour in the dressing while it is still warm. Toss the salad to completely coat it with the dressing and serve.

The second dish Tsutsumi prepared is a grilled zucchini and radish salad with scrambled eggs. Browning the vegetables is the key to their deliciousness. Sprinkle a little salt to extract excess moisture from the vegetables.

“The browned vegetables bring out the umami flavor,” said Tsutsumi. “It’s a salad that feeds you with its aroma.”

The vegetables are still moderately chewy. The acidity of lemon and the richness of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add a nice touch. It is all made even more delicious when eaten with a soft scrambled egg.

Grilled zucchini and radish salad

  • Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 red radishes
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Directions:
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Browning the zucchinis and radishes.
  • 1. Cut the zucchini into 1-centimeter thick slices. Cut the radishes in half lengthwise.
  • 2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the zucchini and radish. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cook for 2 minutes on each side, then place on a plate.
  • 3. Wipe the frying pan with a paper towel. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and place over medium heat. Pour in the beaten eggs and stir. Once the eggs are soft scrambled, transfer them onto the plate next to the vegetables. Squeeze lemon on top and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Olive oil was used for both salads, but white sesame oil or rice oil can be substituted as well. When cooking the vegetables, it is best to prepare them as if you are only warming them up.

“Seasoning should be kept at a minimum because the heat brings out the umami flavor of the vegetables,” said Tsutsumi. “The light-handed approach is also recommended for those who want to reduce their sodium intake.”