When I first came across this spinach recipe in The New York Times health section, it was labeled as an appetizer. The recipe itself was not all that simple — the dressing had to be boiled and reduced. Wondering if there were simpler versions, I searched around using “Japanese spinach sesame seeds” as a key phrase. The results were confusing. In some sites, the very same dish is called oshitashi; in others, it is goma-ae. What the heck? So, I did several more searches. After visiting a dozen food websites and blogs, and fifteen minutes of reading, I think it goes like this — oshitashi is the name of the dish; goma-ae is the name of the sesame dressing.
Of course, what’s in a name? It was just curiosity that drove me to search. What’s important is what drew me to the dish, to begin with. The recipe is so easy, the ingredients are quite inexpensive and, looking over the ingredient list and procedure, I was 99% sure that the result would be good. Ergo, three things made the recipe attractive: simplicity, economy and anticipated deliciousness. If it turns out that I’m wrong about the distinction between oshitashi and goma-ae, I don’t really care. This is a very easy, tasty and cheap vegetable dish that you can serve as a salad, an appetizer, a side dish or even as a light main dish. … Continue reading »