Tricolored Sea Sauté

Hijiki no Itamé Ni

This colorful and nutritious mélange of land and sea vegetables is particularly good with broiled fish or poultry. Best savored at room temperature, it travels well in picnic baskets and is also excellent with cold cuts on a buffet table.

Ingredients

  • cup dried hijiki (black sea vegetable)
  • 1 slender carrot, about 2 ounces
  • 2 ounces slender green beans
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup dashi (basic sea stock)
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • tablespoons sugar
  • ¼-⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

Method

  1. Soak the dried sea vegetable in warm water for 20-30 minutes. Drain, and if necessary, cut the strands of hijiki to approximately ¾ inch long. Set the vegetable aside.
  2. Peel the carrot and cut it into thin julienne strips about the same length as the sea vegetable pieces; set them aside.
  3. Trim the green beans, and blanch them for 1 minute in boiling water to cover. Drain immediately, and let them cool to room temperature naturally. Slice the green beans on the diagonal into ¾-inch-long pieces, and set them aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet, and sauté the sea vegetable over high heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the carrot strips and continue to sauté for another minute.
  5. Lower the heat, add cup of the sea stock and the rice wine, and simmer for 6-7 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar and cup more stock. Stir, and simmer for 6-7 more minutes.
  7. Add the soy sauce and remaining sea stock. Stir, and simmer for 7-8 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to less than 1 tablespoonful.
  8. Add the syrupy rice wine, stir, and return to high heat. Cook for another minute or so, until all the liquid has been reduced and the vegetables look glossy. Toss in the blanched string beans, and stir to mix. Remove the skillet from the heat, and let the sauté cool to room temperature.
  9. In a small dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds for 30 seconds or so, until they color ever so slightly and a few pop. Just before serving, garnish the sea sauté with the sesame seeds.

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