All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Dinner, July 6, 2011

Sansho (Zanthoxylum piperitum) leaves have been out for some time now. They have a pungent aroma with a hint of citrus. My sansho tree does not seem to get any taller than a few feet, probably because of this cool climate. Leaves turn yellow relatively early in fall, and we have only a few months a year to enjoy its summery aroma and flavor.

Local fava beans are in season. Finally they appeared at the farmers' market last weekend. Their slight bitterness was the taste of spring back in Japan, but here it is the taste of early summer.

Cod, the freshest-looking fish today from Sunny Farms, is marinated in yuan-dare (soy sauce, sake, mirin and citrus). Chopped sansho leaves are added to the marinade. Grilled cod is accompanied by kabu turnip cut into chrysanthemum flowers and marinated in sweet vinegar as well as lightly salted hakusai cabbage and kabu turnip leaves.

Tender carrot leaves from the greenhouse are made into tempura with sakura ebi. This crispy deep-fry always reminds me of Ebi Mangetsu, a round, moon-shape white potato-starch cracker with sakura ebi and green seaweed.  

Another summer dish is green beans cooked in broth. It has quite a bit of soy sauce and tastes pretty strong, and it pulls all dishes together for this meal. If fatty fish were used instead of cod, this dish would have been too much.

Overall, this was a pleasant, early-summer dinner.

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