Sunday, February 10, 2008

Super G-Salad (인삼산채)

A Medley of Ginseng, Garland Chrysanthemum, Gingko Nuts, Goji Berries, Green Peppers & Garlic

Super G Salad

This ambrosial assortment is a stimulating health elixir in salad form. The ginseng, garland chrysanthemum, gingko nuts, goji Berries, green Korean hot peppers, and garlic hot pepper dressing create a rare, delicious salad. Composed of numerous nutrition-packed ingredients beginning with the letter “G”, hence the name “Super G Salad”, this salad sings with a robust, distinctively nutty, spicy, slightly bitter, savory, yet subtly sweet, fresh deliciousness.

Dressing this herbaceous bouquet of quintessential Korean ingredients, such as ginseng and gingko, is a distinctly Korean condiment-kochujang, fermented red hot pepper paste. Despite a striking resemblance to cream of tomato soup, the kochujang dressing savors like a garlicky fire gently dancing on your tongue.

And the Super G Salad tastes as good as it is for you. In particular, the ginseng and gingko nuts act synergistically together to improve cognitive function. Ginseng also widens blood vessels by increasing production of nitric oxide, which is also how a certain Little Blue Pick-Me-Up Pill works. This salad is not only an aphrodisiac but also an alleviant for Type 2 diabetes. The ginseng, gingko nuts, garlic, and Korean hot peppers all actively lower blood sugar levels. And, if you believe 5000 years of East Asian medicine, the Super G Salad is essentially a panacea for all existing ills.


Super G Salad Recipe

~ Serves 3-4 people

Salad
Living in Los Angeles, I am blessed with numerous shopping options for Asian groceries. I found the best place to buy organic garland chrysanthemum, however, is at your local farmer’s market or a Japanese grocery store like Nijiya or Marukai. Garland Chrysanthemum is also known as Crown Daisies, Shungiku in Japanese, or Ssukat/Ssukgat in Korean. Fresh ginseng can generally be found at any Korean market. To create the ginseng shreds, I suggest using a vegetable peeler that resembles a personal razor.

1 bunch organic garland chrysanthemum
2 fresh ginseng roots, 5-6 inches long, 1 inch base
4 green Korean hot peppers
1. Wash, spin-dry, and then separate the garland chrysanthemum leaves.
2. Wash, pat dry, and shave the ginseng lengthwise with your vegetable peeler.
3. Slice the green Korean hot peppers into thin disks.
4. Mix the garland chrysanthemum, ginseng, and green Korean hot peppers together.
5. Divide the salad onto plates.


Toppings
I purchase my gingko nuts fresh in Korean markets, but I have also seen them sold shelled and vacuum-packed in plastic. Gingko nuts are small and have a thin, delicate shell, so regular nut crackers are not efficient for shelling them. The best nut cracker for gingko nuts is actually a lime squeezer, and you can usually crack about 5-6 gingko nuts in one go.

½ cup gingko nuts
2 tbs goji berries
2 tbs pine nuts
1 tsp olive oil
pinch salt
1. Lightly roast the shelled gingko nuts over a low fire with 1 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside and let cool.
2. Lightly roast the pine nuts over a low fire. Combine with the cooled gingko nuts.
3. Sprinkle the gingko nuts, pine nuts, and goji berries over each salad.
Kochujang Dressing/Fermented Hot Pepper Sauce
The best kochujang is homemade from scratch with organic ingredients, but if you don't have time, the best MSG-free store-bought brands for kochujang are O'Foods and Pulmone. O'Foods is two-three times more expensive than Pulmone, but it also tastes better and is less salty. Due to the nature of the fresh dressing ingredients, you require a powerful blender. One of my favorite kitchen tools is my Vita-Mix Blender because the motor is incredibly powerful, and it pulverizes my smoothies, spices, grains, and of course, dressings in mere seconds.

3 tbs kochujang, fermented hot pepper paste
2 tbs dry vermouth
2 tbs olive oil
2 large cloves fresh garlic
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon or kalamanzi juice
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
½ Korean pear, peeled and seeded
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 tbs sesame oil
1. Place all the kochujang salad dressing ingredients in your blender.
2. Blend on low before increasing to high. The resulting salad dressing should be smooth and resemble cream of tomato soup, or a reddish Thousand Island’s dressing. Let people help themselves.

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