Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter salad

I love crisp mung bean sprouts. Fresh ones, not canned. DS and I made a quick trip north recently, stopping at an oriental market on the way to pick up a few things including a couple pounds of fresh bean sprouts. I know, I can sprout my own. I even have a couple of mesh lids that fit wide-mouth canning jars and make the job of rinsing easier. But sometimes I succumb to the woman inside who shouts "Look at those bean sprouts! They're beautiful -- Buy them." And the good thing is, they're very inexpensive at the market compared to local supermarkets' prices for fresh sprouts.

So what does one do with bean sprouts measured in pounds? Egg foo yung is a favorite and I have good luck freezing any leftovers so that takes care of several cups of bean sprouts. But in the winter when fresh produce at the store is pitiful -- shipped 1,000 miles or more and usually looks like it, too -- bean sprouts salad is a welcome change from DH's cold frame lettuce and winter root vegetables and it easily uses a pound of sprouts.

I found this salad recipe several years ago at SproutPeople and the dressing is out of this world! The salad's good as is or add shredded chicken for a main dish. Try serving it over bean thread noodles if you have them. If you don't have fresh bean sprouts, try subbing Napa cabbage or regular green cabbage. And, once you try the dressing, you may want to use it to make a chicken salad all on its own, without the sprouts. That's okay, too.

Bean Sprout Salad in Outrageous Dressing
Serves 4

1 pound (or more) mung bean sprouts
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup (or more) grated carrot
1 cup (or more) chopped sweet peppers
2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped

Outrageous Dressing

3 tablespoons tahini or crunchy peanut butter (or combination)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon hot red pepper oil
1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced green onions
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon hot mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

Mix sprouts and chopped vegetables in a bowl.

Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over salad.

Chill salad, if desired, and serve garnished with more chopped scallions and toasted sesame oil.

Poach sprouts for 30 seconds to 2 minutes by putting them in rapidly boiling water, remove to strainer and cool quickly with cold water. Drain well.

For more recipes and kitchen ideas check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at TammysRecipes.com.

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