Yea, I’ve got a salad for you today!
My recent recipe collage to the right there is looking a little brown/beige from the pizza/dumpling/pancake/pasta/biscuit kick I’ve been on. But no worries, because today I made a big bowl of greens and tossed in a salty, soy-ginger dressing with a pile of pears, a boiled egg, and yes, a splash of bacon, because I’ve still gotta live a little. The pear brings a nice sweetness and the egg a richness that both balance the salty tang of the dressing, and then the whole pile gets garnished with crispy, chewy mochi bites that have been umami-ed up with some soy sauce and furikake, and it all comes together into a dinner with the flavors of an indulgent rice or ramen bowl, but that gives you a little break from the heavy carbs.
Did you know that you can turn mochi into croutons? I think we all know you can stuff it with ice cream and wrap it in bacon, but if you just cut it up and toss it in the oven for 10 minutes, it puffs and into massive blobs that are crispy on the outside, but with a chewy mochi middle. It’s addictive and delicious and naturally gluten free (if you use Tamari instead of soy sauce) so everyone can enjoy. Just make sure you season the heck out of them, as plain baked mochi tastes a lot like those gross rice cakes we used to snack on in the 90s. Let’s not go back there, ok?
Asian Pear & Bacon Salad with Furikake Mochi Croutons
For the salad:
- 8 oz salad greens of your choice (I used a mix of baby lettuces and daikon sprouts)
- 4 slices bacon, cut into small strips (lardons) and fried, drained on paper towels
- 2 asian pears, thinly sliced
- Soy Ginger Dressing (recipe below)
- Furikake mochi croutons (recipe below)
- 4 eggs, boiled to desired doneness and cut in half lenghtwise
- To assemble the salad, portion greens into a large mixing bowl and add pear slices and bacon. Toss with some of the dressing and taste. Add more dressing if you need it. Top with the croutons and the boiled egg and serve.
Soy Ginger Dressing:
- 3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tbs mirin
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 1/2 tbs grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- Whisk all together and taste. Adjust any vinegar, citrus, or oil levels as needed. Chill in the refrigerator until needed. Can be made ahead.
Furikake Mochi Croutons:
- 6 mochi
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp of Soy Ginger Dressing (optional)
- furikake, for seasoning
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut mochi into quarters and toss with the oil and soy sauce (and dressing, if using). Arrange pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet with plenty of room for expanding. Bake 10 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and toss with a few good shakes of furikake and let cool. Mochi may deflate a little bit.
- You don't have to use asian pears for this if you can't find them, but I love their dry sweetness and extra crispness, so use them if you can find.
- You'll want to very lightly dress this salad and then add more dressing to taste if needed. Even using low sodium soy sauce it's pretty salty. It's all balanced out by the other salad components, but even so use a light hand with it.
- If you want smaller pieces of crouton, you can either cut the mochi into smaller pieces before baking or chop your croutons into smaller pieces.
- You should be able to find mochi refrigerated in most grocery stores or Asian markets, in various flavors. I used plain mochi I bought forever ago at my local Japanese market, but any flavor you like should work. I think it goes without saying that ice cream mochi isn't a substitute here but I'll say it anyway.