it’s been almost six months since i moved to my new neighborhood but i’ve only been to restaurants in this area about a third of the times that i’ve gone out to eat. i’m still in the habit of going to my old faves on the west side. but when i have gone out to eat around my house, i’ve had some really great meals. one simple starter that really stuck out was a salad i had at tomi-kro restaurant. it was a green salad with only a few ingredients that worked really well together–which is basically my favourite kind of salad. i’ve taken a few stabs at trying to recreate it ever since i first had it months ago. the star of the salad is crispy fried shallots.
sliced shallot

toasted almond sliverssesame dressing

although the shallots are, in fact, crispy after they’re fried, they’re cut quite thin to get them that way, so they don’t offer enough texture on their own. that’s where the almonds come in–toasted to make their nuttiness stand out even more. the dressing is nutty too from the sesame oil, sweet from the hoisin and mirin, salty from the soy sauce, and tart from the rice vinegar and mustard. i think this tastes pretty close to the dressing on the salad i had that night in the restaurant, and if i’m way off…meh. this dressing works totally well with this salad anyway.

salad with sesame dressing and fried shallots
dressing:
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

add all dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk together, set aside.
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4 cups baby spinach or other leafy greens
1/4 cup almond slivers, toasted
2 large shallots, sliced finely (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp peanut or vegetable oil

heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. when oil is hot, add shallots and fry, stirring frequently. allow shallots to brown until crisp but do not allow them to burn. remove from heat and allow them to cool completely. pour dressing onto leaves and toss well. top with almonds and shallots and serve.

makes 2 main servings or 4 appetizer servings.