Kohlrabi Slivers with Shoots and Sesame

Just as my obsession with kohlrabi was wearing off we received more in our CSA box this week.

This is the second time this spring these crazy looking bulbs have appeared on my kitchen counter, and I must say I was happy to see them. I was tempted to stir fry them again with rice noodles and basil. But a reader (my friend Anne Marie,  who currently makes up 10 percent of this blog’s readership) inspired me to try something different. Like Jeff’s grandmother, Anne Marie’s grandfather used to grow kohlrabi in his garden. It brings back lots of memories, she said. She liked it best raw.

With that in mind, I decided to try this Japanese-inspired salad. You peel the kohlrabi with a knife and chop the bulb into matchsticks. You blanch pea shoots (we happened to have sunflower shoots from the CSA box, so I used them instead) and toss the two together. The sesame dressing calls for black sesame seeds. These aren’t easy to find. I’m fortunate to live near a Penzey’s Spices, which carries just about any spice I’ll ever need. If you can’t find black sesame seeds, use white ones. I tried both. The black sesame seeds make a more dramatic, more flavorful dressing. The regular sesame is nuttier, less bold, but not bad. Cooks on Epicurious.com said they even used Tahini (ground sesame paste) and liked the outcome.

One warning. Don’t use this as an excuse to get out your mandolin choppers or other fancy chopping contraptions. Mine were NOT kohlrabi-friendly. I had much better luck using a chef’s knife when chopping the slivers.

Kohlrabi Slivers with Shoots and Sesame
adapted from Gourmet, via Epicurious

2 ounces snow-pea shoots or other shoots (2 cups)
3/4 pound trimmed kohlrabi bulbs
1/3 cup Japanese-style sesame seeds (black sesame seeds, if you can find them. Otherwise use white hulled seeds)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon water

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil with 2 teaspoons salt, then quickly blanch pea shoots until color brightens, about 10 seconds. Drain immediately and transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.

Peel kohlrabi bulbs with a small sharp knife, then cut into matchsticks. Toss together with shoots in a serving dish.

Finely grind sesame seeds in a coffee/spice grinder or mini food processor, then transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. (Dressing will be thick; thin slightly with additional water if desired.)

Serve salad drizzled with some of dressing and serve remainder on the side.

Serves 4

** Dressing can be made one day ahead of time.


1 Response to “Kohlrabi Slivers with Shoots and Sesame”

  1. 1 Anne Marie Jackson
    June 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Glad I could be some inspiration! 🙂 Sounds tasty–I hope you enjoyed.

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