sesame + nori vinaigrette

This makes a terrific salad dressing—especially good for grated carrot salad—and a flavorful dipping sauce. The dashi lightens it, and adds that deep umami essence.

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup dashi (see cook’s note)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon flaked nori

  1. In a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in dashi.
  2. In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, cook sesame seeds until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and grind to a rough paste, using a mini food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Add to cooled vinegar mixture along with nori flakes and stir to combine.

Makes approximately 1/2 cup.

cook’s note: Cut a 2-inch piece of seaweed (dulse or kelp) into small pieces and combine with 2 cups water. Allow to sit in a cool, dry place for at least 3 hours, or overnight. If you’re short on time, you can place the seaweed and water in a saucepan and heat until it just begins to boil (but don’t boil it as the seaweed will become bitter). Remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain and discard seaweed, and remaining water is your dashi. The dashi will keep for a week, refrigerated. Dashi is great as a stock for soup, a poaching liquid for fish, or for adding depth of flavor to a sauce.