Cooking With Tea: Sencha Vinaigrette

The latest in our Cooking With Tea series: a vinaigrette-style salad dressing with the grassy, fresh taste of Japanese sencha green tea.

With springtime by now well and truly upon us, at least here in P & T’s Berlin hometown, the markets are beginning to fill up again with fresh, local produce. In anticipation of many lush, springtime salads to come, we whipped up this simple salad dressing with a concentrated green tea infusion as its base. The result is a light, subtly grassy, and antioxidant-packed sencha vinaigrette that pairs especially well with baby greens and creamy avocado.

Ingredients for 1-2 servings:
1 heaping teaspoon Daikoku green tea (or another high-quality sencha)
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or another similarly mild, white vinegar)
½ teaspoon white (“shiro”) miso paste
2 Tablespoons lightly flavored oil, like grapeseed or canola (not olive oil, which can overpower the delicate sencha flavor)
1 teaspoon minced onion or shallot
pinch of salt (to taste)
pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
2-3 generous fistfuls of mixed salad greens
½ an avocado, sliced
¼ cucumber, peeled and sliced
dressing duo
Place the sencha tea leaves in a glass. Heat the water to about 60 degrees (not boiling!) and pour it over the tea. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain, squeezing the tea leaves to extract every last bit of flavor. Set aside both the tea infusion and the leaves, keeping them separate for now.
Wash and dry your salad greens, mound them in a large bowl, and top with sliced avocado, cucumber, and whatever other vegetables strike your fancy. Shredded carrots or sprouts are nice.
Place the rice vinegar and miso together in a small bowl and stir together until smooth. Whisk in the onion, cooled tea infusion, and the oil, then stir in as many of the squeezed-out sencha leaves as you like — this is a matter of preference. Add a bit of salt to taste.
Drizzle your salad with the vinaigrette and serve right away. The tea leaves will darken and lose their fresh flavor if stored in pre-mixed dressing, so it’s best to only make as much at a time as you plan to eat.

dressing 4

Try Daikoku Green Tea

A fresh, grassy sencha green tea from the Kyoto region with pleasing notes of tomato. Perfect for our vinaigrette recipe, or just for drinking.

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