This post is more about a technique than the actual salad, although you will find a recipe below. Lightly blanched vegetables make a salad that is delightful in its simplicity and highlights some of the lovely colors out there in the vegetable world.
Some basics: Macrobiotic philosophy is an energetic approach to food and lifestyle. It is the practice of using knowledge about the energetic properties of our food and our environment to support our lives on a daily basis. It is why macrobiotics is not really a diet. It is also why everyone’s macrobiotic practice may look different.
From an energetic view, each cooking style has certain energetic qualities. You probably already know how different cooking styles, such as steaming versus baking, can bring out different flavors in food. An energetic approach takes it a step further and looks at how cooking style can bring different nutrients to the forefront and create a different energetic effect in our bodies.
Quickly blanching vegetables creates a light, refreshing, upward type of energy in our bodies. This is perfect for times when we are feeling rushed and pressured in our lives. Eating vegetables prepared this way can also help with sweet cravings. To get the maximum upward, lightening effect, blanched vegetables are better fresh and not as leftovers.
The way I learned to blanch vegetables is as a super quick in and out of the boiling water. 10 seconds. 15 seconds. That’s it. The vegetables should still have an audible crunch, but shouldn’t seem raw, either.
Use any combination of vegetables, but a more balanced salad energetically will have a root vegetable (carrot, radish), a round vegetable (broccoli, squash) and a leafy vegetable (greens). As I’ve talked about before with pressed salad and nishime, I like to have an odd number of vegetables, typically 3 or 5, because I think it creates a more dynamic dish. The amount of each vegetable is completely flexible.
Blanched Vegetable Salad
2-3 leaves kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces, stems sliced thin
3 red radishes, washed and slice thin
1/4 delicata squash, wash, scoop out insides and slice thin
1. Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil on medium heat.
2. Starting with the mildest tasting vegetable, place into boiling water and leave until it just turns bright. Quickly remove from water with a slotted spoon or 6″ strainer like this one. Spread onto a large flat plate so they can cool quickly. Wait for the water to boil again and then continue with the next vegetable, cooking each one separately. Cook the strongest tasting vegetable last. In general, each vegetable should only take 10-15 seconds, but the delicata may take a little longer. Stand and watch while you are cooking the vegetables, so you can get them out of the water as soon as they are done.
3. Serve as is or with a splash of lemon juice or brown rice vinegar.