Spinach Ohitashi (aka Horenso no Ohitashi), Nobu Style

…I don’t expect you to follow the recipes to the letter. I’d be happier just knowing they give you new ideas and brighten your day-to-day cooking… -Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook, p. 9.

So there was some remaining fresh spinach in my refridgerator crisper.  What to do?  So, I went through my copy of Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook and came across Dashi-Marinated Vegetables (p. 48-49).  I started thinking, “Spinach. Ohitashi. Dashi, soy sauce….may be I can do this….”.   As I read through article, a basic marinade pattern began to emerge – blanched vegetables, 8 parts kombu dashi, 1 part usukuchi soy sauce, 1 part mirin.

At this point, I thought, “Let’s do ohitashi this way; drop the mirin.”  The spinach was the regular, not baby variety and so I trimmed the stems, plunged them spinach three or four times to get rid of the sand.

two bunches of trimmed and cleaned spinach

two bunches of trimmed and cleaned spinach

 I then blanched the spinach for about 2 minutes, shocked them and then set them aside.

Blanched spinach, shocked

Blanched spinach, shocked

While the spinach was resting, I made some dashi, extracted two cups.  To the two cups (16 oz) of dashi, I added 2 oz  of usukuchi soy sauce (recall the 8:1 ratio) and brought that back to a boil.

dashi/soy mixture

dashi/soy mixture

Into a smaller pot, I placed the spinach, drained of excess water, and then poured the dashi/soy

marinating the blanched spinach

marinating the blanched spinach

mixture over it.  At that point, I covered the pot and let it cool and marinate for about 4 hours.

Finished spinach ohitashi

Finished spinach ohitashi

When it was all done, I placed it in a bowl to be served along side my steamed lobster dinner!  I was very happy with the results.  It very much tasted what I would expect in Japanese restaurants.  Better yet, it didn’t have that sweet background taste that you get in some versions.  Matsuhisa-sama, thank you for sharing the recipe/technique for dashi marinated vegetables!

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